WASHINGTON (AP) — The announcement came just one week after an Air Force officer who headed a sexual assault prevention office was himself arrested on charges of groping a woman in a parking lot.
The two cases highlight a problem that is drawing increased scrutiny in the Congress and expressions of frustration from top Pentagon leaders. Pentagon press secretary George Little said after Wednesday's announcement that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is angry and disappointed at "these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply."
Statement by Press Secretary George Little on Allegations of Misconduct
Earlier today Secretary Hagel was informed about the allegations of criminal behavior against an Army sergeant first class who was a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood. I cannot convey strongly enough his frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply.
Secretary Hagel met with Army Secretary McHugh this morning and directed him to fully investigate this matter rapidly, to discover the extent of these allegations, and to ensure that all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately.
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.
Sexual assault is a crime and will be treated as such. The safety, integrity, and well-being of every service member and the success of our mission hang in the balance. Secretary Hagel is looking urgently at every course of action to stamp out this deplorable conduct and ensure that those individuals up and down the chain of command who tolerate or engage in this behavior are appropriately held accountable.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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