Battleland

Yet Another Sexual-Assault Investigation Likely to Spur Congressional Action

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Sgt. Richard Wrigley / U.S. Army

Fort Hood soldiers.

Sexual assaults in the military, long simmering on the Pentagon’s back burner, moved to a roiling boil 10 days ago – and threatened to explode with the announcement Tuesday night of yet another probe into sexual assault by a uniformed member of the U.S. military charged with preventing that very crime.

It was less than two weeks ago that local police near the Pentagon arrested Lieut. Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, the Air Force’s sexual-assault prevention chief, for drunkenly groping a woman in a parking lot. Now, with the Army investigating an unnamed sergeant charged with preventing sexual abuse at Fort Hood, the pot is rattling atop the stove and threatening to blow up.

There is growing concern inside the Pentagon that the two latest cases make clear the fact that the military cannot be counted on to defend those in its ranks against sexual predators. Followed to its logical conclusion, that means some elements of combating sexual assault may have to be pulled out of the military’s treasured chain of command.

That’s what a growing number of lawmakers want. Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the armed services committee, said his panel will begin studying such changes next month. “Tragically, the depth of the sexual-assault problem in our military was already overwhelmingly clear,” he said late Tuesday, “before this latest highly disturbing report.”

Some lawmakers contend the military justice system is too rife with built-in conflicts of interest to ensure that justice is meted out fairly to victims. They point to last week’s Pentagon survey showing an estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact last year, a 35% jump over 2010’s estimate.

The military has pushed back, contending that commanders need the ability to punish transgressors – and for that to be witnessed by their comrades – to maintain the military’s cherished “good order and discipline” within its ranks. “It is my strong belief…the ultimate authority has to remain within the command structure,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week.

Unfortunately, the recent spate of sexual assaults, beginning in 2011 with more than 30 trainers at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas who allegedly abused more than 60 recruits, suggests good order and discipline is in short supply.

In the past, the military has been regularly shaken by such scandals, although they tended to be limited to a single service at a time. The Navy’s Tailhook scandal in 1991 led to major changes in the service. In the late 1990s, Army sergeants abused trainees at Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Ground and the service’s top enlisted soldier was court-martialed on charges that included sexual harassment.

But the near-simultaneous probes of uniformed sexual-assault preventers in the Air Force and Army may force Congress to act over Pentagon objections.

In the newest case, late Tuesday the Pentagon announced that an Army sergeant first class – an E-7 — who had served as a sexual-assault prevention coordinator at Texas’ Fort Hood is being investigated for “abusive sexual contact” and other misconduct.

“The soldier had been assigned as an Equal Opportunity Advisor and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program coordinator,” the Army said in a statement. “The accused was immediately suspended from all duties by the chain of command once the allegations were brought to the command’s attention. There have been no charges filed or preferred at this time.”

Predictably, Hagel expressed “frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said. He has ordered the services to  “re-train, re-credential and re-screen” troops in such posts.

To lawmakers eager to dispatch reinforcements to help the military battle sexual assault, that is likely to sound too much like a broken record. It’s not likely to halt the push for wholesale changes in the way the military deals with this particular foe.

18 comments
Serenity
Serenity

Commanders don't need any power over criminal cases. Their so-called "good order and discipline" (which is little more than an overused buzzword) can be ensured with their Article 15 powers. That way they can punish people for minor infractions. But nothing justifies giving untrained people judicial powers in cases that aren't any different from the civilian world.

arrestforcefeeders
arrestforcefeeders

dont hire, immedaitly fire, and permantly disqualify from working in a gov job, anyone who: sexual/physcial abused, neglected, kidnapped, bought a prostitute, or watched porn. charge misconductors wage refund from date of misconduct to date of fire. arrest and charge sexual assilents equally under the law. before hireing, make them sign a contract saying they wont do those things or else fired and owe wage refund.

gov-fund more female training includeing welfare to eventually acheive goal of requirement of =#of females and males(both with equal strength and skill) in each level of power of the military.  

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@arrestforcefeeders 

Watched porn?  So in addition to permanently destroying people who did something illegal that only gives you up to a 10 year jail sentence and refuse recognition for rehabilitation, you're going to destroy people who actually did legal activities?  In addition, you're going to charge people with fines that are many multiples of annual salaries?  Nobody but the richest could hope to survive under these concepts.

Work needs to be done to improve the system/make it not complete BS, but this is insanely extreme

arrestforcefeeders
arrestforcefeeders

remove all minimum and maxium time limits for sentenceing criminals, exsept in severe crimes whearas they might be sentered to life in prison or the death penalty because rehab probally wont work or it cant acurately declare that individual to be safe enough to let back into public. after a criminal commited a crime where jail is a legal consequence, they should be put in a rehabilitation program and not released until they have been rehabilitated/they have corrected their behavior in such that the prison and the public think they are safe enough to own a gun and release into the public.

when you work for a job, their is additional rules you must follow or else you will be fired, gov jobs arnt something where people can legally be paid and do whatever they want and whatever they want with the $ and get away with it. employees should be screened for morality. the military's job is sapose to be defending innocent victims, not letting immoral people use heavy weapons. porn shouldnt be illegal. im not going to destroy people that do legal activitys.

after the porn-watchers are fired from gov-jobs, if they cant afford to care for themself they shuld be put on welfare, given job training for private sector jobs if they cant afford it gov should pay for it such as a lient loan where they dont have to repay unless they have above $33,000 in man made property value. and shuold be allowed to freely live off the land to be as independent as possible. (the goal being to help make sure the individual is able to repay the refund they owe, plus become a productive contributeing member of society)

if the employee breaks the rules of the job, and was sapose to be fired and instead continued to work their, they should have to refund their wages from the point, i refer to a fine as an uncontracted penalty fee, in this case the employees would have contracted that they are being paid to do their job, and if they dont do their job they should owe a refund.  

according to statistics, sexual assilents tend to be people that watch porn.

its not that difficult to immedialty make all gov workers sign contracts agreeing to my new rules, or at least for all new employees that are hired. weather my new rules will be implemented gradually or preferably immedialty, as long as i get my way thats what matters, join me in my effort to push my(hopefully our) agenda. i appreiciate the opourtunity to clairify my position so now hopefully you will understand.

gov should be under 24-7live public survailence w a see-thru/heat/night vision video camrae on each gov-workers forhead, vehical, inside of rooms, and outside of buildings, unless their is a good reason that can be presented to the public for certian things to be kept hidden. reasons for gov secrets shuldnt be secret.

arrestforcefeeders
arrestforcefeeders

"watching porn is supporting and sponsering the sexual assult of women and means you think its acceptable to assult wemon and think prostitution is acceptable."

when you watch porn the porn-industry makes $, weather you are paying them directly, or paying them indirectly thru ads, they ether then pay prostitutes to do "it", or they fund their ability to use intimiation, force, and sexual assult. alot of porn is videos of sexual assult.

arrestforcefeeders
arrestforcefeeders

"Immorality exists in many forms and those who are immoral in some forms are very moral in others."

right

"immorality is a dynamic concept - as mentioned before, you and I have sharp disagreements of what constitutes moral and immoral actions."

some nazis called it moral to kill jews. most people agree on what is and isnt moral.

prostitution and porn doesnt= sexual assult.

most porn actors are not consenually haveng sex, they may appear that to be in some cases only because they are being intimiated and beat behind the scene, and sometimes they are doing it to get paid because they are being deprived independence/neglected.

porn=bascially watching people do it.

just because someone watches porn doesnt meant they will sexual assult, most sexual assilents watch porn.

all porn actors that paid to have sex and prostitutes.

the people that i know that watch porn(and its alot) are discusting, admit they think cruelty and hypocracy are acceptable, engage in many other bad behvaiors, and disrespect their fellow humans.

porn watchers are a minority.

"I am not saying that people who watch porn are incapable of finding jobs, I'm saying you're penalizing them...I think it is immoral to penalize someone for watching porn (or, really, punish anything that they do in the privacy of their own home). Under your concept of morality, I should never have a government job and under my concept of morality, you should never have a government job. And I get just as infuriated when businesses have those same rules."

to not give someone stollen $(gov $) is penalizeing them? if thats true then a person is being punished just because others wont allow them to steal everything they want. if you wont give me everything you have for free, your punishing me?

"that doesn't justify monitoring someone in the privacy of their own home under the suspicion that they might rape or murder someone or, worse, do something one might consider immoral."

no it doesnt if your a private individual that doesnt work in a gov job. if you work in a gov job, exspecially a job where you use gov-funded heavy weapons, you should be under 24-7 live public video survailence, exsepct certian things can be secret if gov has a good reason for it.

"Under your concept of morality, I should never have a government job and under my concept of morality, you should never have a government job. And I get just as infuriated when businesses have those same rules."
you are now saying you dont want me to work in a gov jobs based on things i do off duty, hypocrite.

"the private and professional lives of people should be completely separate and what I do at the end of the day is no business of my company."
if you have the choice between 2 equally qualified people to hire, and one is your enemy who has done many mean things to you, disagrees with your many view points, says mean things, or even is unsanitary and discusting off duty and does the worst(but legal)things you can think ov off duty, plus even lots of gossip about them commit crimes(w/o proof), OR are you going to hire your best friend/long-time good friend who you adore?

bussiness and gov should be able to discriminate agianst potentian employees based on their person lifes, they already do in many ways, such as they discriminate agianst you based on if you got a degree(something you did off duty), or if you commited any past crimes, sometimes require you to fill out questionaries and go thru training processes(before hired), and many other(even i admit sometimes exssessive) questions they ask in applications with the intention to discriminate agianst you for it. i think requireing empployees to give employeers their personal email accout passwords is pushing it too far.

violateing a law on duty means you stoped performing the service you were paid to do(unless your paid to violate the law).

"between the point where you did something in violation of the policy and the point where they fired you, you were performing the service they expected of you and you should be paid for providing that service."

-not nessicarily, exspecially if you contracted that you would owe wage refund if you misconducted. ex: if you were hired as part of a condition that someone thought you had a degree, or were a certian age, (or in this case of a certian morality(ex not to misconduct as part of the condition)...), and you hired them on that assumption, everything you paid to them would be fraud, they owe full refund.

they broke the rules and should have been fired immediatly after they broke the rules, for some reason they wernt fired immedaitly after they misconducted so they should owe a refund for wages from point of misconduct to point of fire.

"Now, if you were suspended without pay while they investigated, we might be able to have a reasonable discussion about that option (I still disagree with it - investigations could take years and it's very difficult to take another job while your former one is in legal limbo which creates a massive ability to abuse the system where someone could accuse you of doing something immoral forcing the government to investigate and penalizing you - and for those who live paycheck to paycheck, there is no way around there not being a massive abuse vector)"

employeers can fire or suspend their employees for whatever reason they want- and should be able to(exsept for minimum wage laws, and they should be allowed to discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender...)

i already went thru about welfare.. so you dont have to worry about dieing over getting fired, and also about incentiveing more good job creation.

i agree that if people were fired/suspended over mere alligations of them misconducting, that isnt right, gossip is good for investigation not discrimination

gov-employees are paid with stollen $(gov $/tax$). stealing came into the discusion because we are talking about gov$/stollen $.

people arnt allowed to live off the land as freely as they want- and you know that, unless your living in some secret wonderful place that no one has ever heard of.

many poor people live in urban areas beacuse their forced to live there, their not allowed to live on the land.

merly disallowing porn watchers to go into gov sector would not elimiate any jobs at all. all that would happen is there would be less porn watchers in gov sec, more porn watches in prv sec, and vise versa.

in this case it wouldnt shrink the gov sec at all. (in another case i want gov to shrink-when gov shrinks the prv sec automatically grows.) gov sec only exsists because prv sec exsists.

in another case of incentiveing good-job and wealth growth-by reduceing welfare dependency by allowing more independence, and cutting taxes for producers of survial products=more jobs and more wealth overall for all.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

"i meant to say the gov should not let highly immoral people use gov-funded heavy weapons."

Immorality exists in many forms and those who are immoral in some forms are very moral in others.  Furthermore, immorality is a dynamic concept - as mentioned before, you and I have sharp disagreements of what constitutes moral and immoral actions.

"watching porn is supporting and sponsering the sexual assult of women and means you think its acceptable to assult wemon and think prostitution is acceptable, lets reduce the risk of sexual assult in the gov before it happens."

False.

Sexual assault of women is too far confused with sexuality of women.  Sexual assault occurs when a woman is forced into a sexual situation that is undesired. Sexuality of women occurs when a woman chooses to exercise her sexual freedom.  The entire reason why the incorrect concept of "she was asking for it, look at how she was dressed" exists because of the confusion between those two concepts.

Your opposition to porn is also inherently based upon that confusion: Porn is paying women to be sexual for the benefits of others therefore it's sexual assault.  However, porn is entirely consensual in its nature (well, professional porn. Amateur porn does have a few non-consensual cases - see also Hilton, Paris.)

Equally, there is a false assumption that porn watchers are almost exclusively male.  In reality, while stats differ frequently, they seem to suggest that as much as 30% of the viewers of porn are women and some statistics suggest that a majority of women watch porn (though that is mathematically impossible if the female audience is only 30% of the total).  In many cases, married couples watch porn together as a way to "get in the mood".  Do you believe these are statistics that drive sexual assault?

Prostitution, BTW, has a similar confusion between sexuality and sexual assault.  Prostitution is a far stickier issue for a lot of other reasons - not to mention inherently more dangerous than porn for the women involved and far more likely to result in actual sexual assault.

"most people that i kno that play violent video games arnt and dont become violent. violent videos games shouldnt be banned. gov-workers should be allowed to play violent video games. i dont have a problem with violent video games, some mil and cops use violent video games to train with."

The point of me mentioning it is to contrast the false causal connection between porn and sexual assault with the equally false causal effect between video games and violence.  So I guess the question is: do you know people who watch porn?  You probably have no idea but if you were to dig through the people who do watch porn around you (and you almost certainly don't have to go far to find them), you'll find out that most of them are normal people who have no other issues or abnormalities other than they watch porn.

"to not give someone stollen $ is penalizeing them? if thats true then a person is being punished just because others wont allow them to steal everything they want. if you wont give me everything you have for free, your punishing me?"

I have no clue what you're referring to

"if you rape or murder someone in the privacy of your home, you should be punished. "

Sure, but that doesn't justify monitoring someone in the privacy of their own home under the suspicion that they might rape or murder someone or, worse, do something one might consider immoral.

"if a private bussiness wants to require that their employees have some level of politeness and decency, thats normal, why have a problem with that?"

They have every right to expect that employees be polite and decent when representing or participating in the company.  If you're saying that they should be able to say employees can't watch porn at work, I agree with you.  However, the private and professional lives of people should be completely separate and what I do at the end of the day is no business of my company.

"your right about as long as the service is performed they should be paid. if you pay someone to do a service, and they dont preform the service you paid them to perform, your owed a refund"

Sure, but violating a law does not automatically mean you stopped performing the service.  If they fire you, you are not providing a service after the point of firing.  However, between the point where you did something in violation of the policy and the point where they fired you, you were performing the service they expected of you and you should be paid for providing that service.  Now, if you were suspended without pay while they investigated, we might be able to have a reasonable discussion about that option (I still disagree with it - investigations could take years and it's very difficult to take another job while your former one is in legal limbo which creates a massive ability to abuse the system where someone could accuse you of doing something immoral forcing the government to investigate and penalizing you - and for those who live paycheck to paycheck, there is no way around there not being a massive abuse vector)

"they should be put under special survailence because they stole the public's $ to fund themself, and the public is sapose to have some say in what their allowed to do, and its the law that the gov is sapose to be forced to be more transparent than the private sector. do you want someone running off with your stollen stuff then you arnt allowed to steal it back or penalize them for stealing it, have no say in how they can spend it or at least not even be allowed to know how they spend it?"

I have no clue what you're talking about here.  You argued that every federal employee should be monitored constantly to ensure that they don't do something wrong or immoral and then here you argue that it's because they already sacrificed their right because they're stealing people's money.  Are you running under the inherent belief that a federal employee stole money simply because they're paid?  I really don't understand your argument.  I don't even know how stealing came into this entire discussion.

"under my rule, there would be a minimum wage, people that got fired from gov would get gov-funded welfare and job training if they cant afford it, and would be allowed to freely live of the land to be as independent as possible to reduce their need for welfare, and put in tax deductions for bussiness's and workers that produce survival products(ex soap, renewable energy, water purifiers, shelter...) to incentive good-job and wealth creation."

People can already live off the land as freely as they want.  The Unibomber was actually doing just that prior to his going radical and bombing people.  The problem with living off the land is that it's nearly impossible to do in an urban environment which is where the vast majority of poverty problems come from.  Honestly, though, I don't want to spend much time looking at that side of things - our quibbles on this are minor in comparison to your concepts of morality-based employment and monitoring of federal employees.  And if your argument is "hey, my ideas about government are ok because look at how much freedom I'll be giving to these people in exchange" - no, no you aren't and no it won't counterbalance the fact that you're eliminating somewhere in the range of 20% of the jobs that someone could take and my concerns have nothing to do with welfare or people who might end up on it.  Every argument I have made is one that is still valid if every single person you fire finds a job in the private sector.

arrestforcefeeders
arrestforcefeeders

i meant to say the gov should not let highly immoral people use gov-funded heavy weapons.

watching porn is supporting and sponsering the sexual assult of women and means you think its acceptable to assult wemon and think prostitution is acceptable, lets reduce the risk of sexual assult in the gov before it happens.

most people that i kno that play violent video games arnt and dont become violent. violent videos games shouldnt be banned. gov-workers should be allowed to play violent video games. i dont have a problem with violent video games, some mil and cops use violent video games to train with.

to not give someone stollen $ is penalizeing them? if thats true then a person is being punished just because others wont allow them to steal everything they want. if you wont give me everything you have for free, your punishing me?

if you rape or murder someone in the privacy of your home, you should be punished.  

if a private bussiness wants to require that their employees have some level of politeness and decency, thats normal, why have a problem with that?

your right about as long as the service is performed they should be paid. if you pay someone to do a service, and they dont preform the service you paid them to perform, your owed a refund.

they should be put under special survailence because they stole the public's $ to fund themself, and the public is sapose to have some say in what their allowed to do, and its the law that the gov is sapose to be forced to be more transparent than the private sector. do you want someone running off with your stollen stuff then you arnt allowed to steal it back or penalize them for stealing it, have no say in how they can spend it or at least not even be allowed to know how they spend it?

under my rule, there would be a minimum wage, people that got fired from gov would get gov-funded welfare and job training if they cant afford it, and would be allowed to freely live of the land to be as independent as possible to reduce their need for welfare, and put in tax deductions for bussiness's and workers that produce survival products(ex soap, renewable energy, water purifiers, shelter...) to incentive good-job and wealth creation.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@arrestforcefeeders 

First: correlation does not imply causality.  Do I watch porn?  Yes.  Do I sexually assault women?  No.  Does my wife watch porn?  Yes.  Does she sexually assault anybody?  No.  It's the same dumb argument about violent video games - I play violent video games, I have never owned a gun in my life, I have never thrown a punch in my life and it is unlikely I ever will.  As such, you sweep up a boatload of innocent people in your attempt to purge problematic people.  That makes no sense.

And I am not saying that people who watch porn are incapable of finding jobs, I'm saying you're penalizing them.  This is a labor market and to be restricted from some jobs limits the demand for your services and limits how much you may sell your services for.  It makes no sense to restrict it because of legal acts they committed.

Morality is an unscreenable concept and one man's moral issue is another man's irrelevant issue.  For example, you think it is immoral to watch porn - I think it is immoral to penalize someone for watching porn (or, really, punish anything that they do in the privacy of their own home).  Under your concept of morality, I should never have a government job and under my concept of morality, you should never have a government job.  And I get just as infuriated when businesses have those same rules.

I disagree about the employee having to repay wages.  The employee's time is a service - a commodity sold to the company that is employing them.  They are offering that service for the wage they receive.  So long as that service is performed, the wage should be paid.  You can't refuse to pay a restaurant tab just because someone offended you.

And the entire idea of every government worker being under 24/7 surveillance is off the deep end of crazy.  Why should they be put under special surveillance?  Why shouldn't they be granted the right to privacy that those of us who work in the private sector enjoy?

I'm not saying that it's impossible to implement, I'm saying it's stupid, extreme and morally wrong.

pendragon05
pendragon05

I will never understand why some women want to be surrounded by a forest of men.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Why would you assume that whether or how many men are in the field?  Why isn't it because they just want to serve?  Or if you've got a more cynical worldview, because it's the best field they can get into from a pay or benefits perspective for their education and training.

Arimathean
Arimathean

The military could be trusted to mete out justice and reform itself IF it weren't for the fact that it is the very people in charge of ending sexual violence who are the most recent perpetrators!  

jmac
jmac

They could clear this up.      All they have to do is think these men are sexually harassing other men  - that would last about one second.  

SuhailShafi
SuhailShafi

Face it - the US military is riddled with war criminals, professional psychopaths and sex offenders. The people in charge of preventing rape are themselves raping, showing you can trust wolves amongst sheep.


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