The Army announced Tuesday that a sergeant first class assigned to a sexual harassment and assault response and prevention program at Fort Hood, Texas, is under investigation for “pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.”
The soldier, who was not named in an Army statement, has been suspended from all duties.
No charges have been filed.
“This is so contrary to everything upon which the Army was built,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said during testimony before the House Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee, the statement said. “To see this kind of activity happening in our ranks is really heart-wrenching and sickening.”
McHugh spoke generally about sex abuse crimes in the military.
“As I said to our new Brigadier General Corps when I spoke to them about two weeks ago, ‘You can do everything from this point forward in your military career perfectly, but if you fail on this, you have failed the Army’,” he reportedly said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was made aware of the accusations earlier Tuesday.
He met with McHugh and directed him to ensure that “all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately,” according to Pentagon spokesman George Little.
“To address the broader concerns that have arisen out of these allegations and other recent events, Secretary Hagel is directing all the services to re-train, re-credential, and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters,” he said.
“Sexual assault is a crime and will be treated as such.”
The allegations of abuse come soon after an Air Force officer was charged with sexual battery stemming from an incident in Northern Virginia.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, a 1994 graduate of the Air Force Academy who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested this month for allegedly grabbing a woman’s buttocks and breasts in a parking lot in Arlington County not far from the Pentagon.
He had been in charge of a military unit aimed at preventing sexual assault.
Krusinski, who has since been removed from that position, made an initial court appearance last week. He did not enter a plea.
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