Pentagon Fires Troops After Recent Sex-Assault Review

The Pentagon has fired 60 troops including sexual assault counselors, recruiters, and drill instructors after a recent sex-assault review.

Each of the 60 troops committed violations that included child abuse, sexual assault, and alcohol-related offences, according to reports.

The decision comes after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the records of recruiters and sexual assault counselors be examined, reports USA Today. The examination was ordered on May 17.

Hagel’s review was ordered after the Pentagon’s report in May, which estimated that 26,000 troops were sexually assaulted last year. The number is a 35 percent increase since 2010. Offenses cited in the report ranged from groping to rape.

After the report came to light, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey called sexual assault in the military a crisis. As a result, the records of more than 35,000 servicemen and women have been screened or are currently undergoing the process.

However, each branch has taken Hagel’s order a different way. The Indy Star notes that the Marines screened their recruiters against a public database, while the Army looked at criminal records for sexual assault, child abuse, and alcohol-related charges.

Army spokesman George Wright explained that the Army has suspended 55 soldiers, according to figures through mid-July, as part of the review. It is unclear if any of those soldiers are included in the 60 troops fired by the Pentagon.

Wright added that the Army hopes to have its screenings completed by October 1 and it is possible the military branch will suspend additional soldiers as the review goes along.

Navy sexual assault prevention and response program manager Tammy O’Rourke added that the Navy has so far disqualified three of its 5,125 recruiters it reviewed and two of its 4,739 counselors. It also reviewed records for 869 recruit instructors.

There have been several sexual assault scandals in the military in recent years, including one involving the Air Force’s lieutenant colonel in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in May. He was arrested in May after police alleged that he drunkenly groped a woman at a bar near the Pentagon.

Along with firing several troops in the review, the Pentagon has also been asked to appear before Congress and explain how the military branches will respond to the sexual assault crisis. A number of the measures they address could become law.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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