Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) September 4, 2013 — The Pentagon has announced new plans to shore up protection for victims of sexual assault, more closely control the behavior of recruiters and trainers, and track sexual assault complaints.
“Steps to protect our troops from any unwanted sexual advances and assaultive behaviors are to be commended,” stated James Fausone, a veterans disability attorney.
Steps include better enforcement of policies which prohibit inappropriate relationships, establishing an advocacy group within each service branch for victims which provides representation and legal advice for those with complaints of sexual assault, and disqualifying troop members who have backgrounds including sexual assault from roles as counselors, instructors or recruiters.
Meanwhile, an airman who was assigned to the Air Force Academy was convicted in August of aggravated sexual conduct against his fellow female airman at a general court martial. The airman received a sentence of 15 months confinement. He was also reduced in grade to airman basic, and he was dishonorably discharged by a panel of officers. The conviction was just the latest in a series of high-profile military sexual assault cases as the Defense Department and Congress attempt to determine the best way to prosecute sexual assault cases.
The now-former chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention and response branch, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested easier this year after allegedly committing sexual battery against a woman not far from the Pentagon after exiting a strip club. The ensuing fallout has thrown a harsh spotlight on sexual assault and misconduct against fellow officers in all branches of the service. Krusinski’s post is now held by a woman who had been hired to investigate the assault by trainers of female recruits in Texas, at Lackland Air Force Base.
The Defense Department is currently looking at how to expand an Air Force program which offers special counsel to service members who allege that they are the victims of unwanted sexual conduct or sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact.
There were an estimated 26,000 unwanted sexual contact incidents in 2012 experienced by active-duty troops.
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