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Senators Want Pentagon Probe of Sex Abuse Intimidation Claims

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Senators Want Pentagon Probe of Sex Abuse Intimidation Claims


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Two senators are asking the Pentagon to investigate claims by female soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, that senior commanders discouraged them from reporting additional sexual assaults.

The allegations emerged during the trial of a drill sergeant at the base who was convicted of sexually assaulting eight female trainees under his command.

Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have
written Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to urge that the “troubling
allegations” be investigated.

“We are deeply disturbed by media reports of the testimony of a
victim and witness during this court martial that they and those around
them were discouraged from reporting sexual assaults by their
leadership,” they wrote in a letter sent to Hagel on Tuesday.

They cited media reports of  the testimony of two female witnesses
at the court martial of Staff Sergeant Angel M. Sanchez for sexually
assaulting and abusing female solders he was training at Fort Leonard
Wood.  Last week, a military judge found Sanchez guilty and recommended a
twenty year prison sentence.   The sentence must be approved by the
post’s commander.

One of the witnesses alleged that a lieutenant colonel at the base
 ”told her company of trainees several months ago not to report
allegations of sexual assault.”  That witness says she now has “issues
of trusting those who are in charge of me.”

Another female witness testified
that her unit’s Command Sergeant Major told her company of Military
Policemen several months ago that “if any more sexual assault cases come
forward” the whole company of soldiers would not graduate from advanced
individual training.

McCaskill and Gillibrand urged Hagel to begin an investigation saying
” If none has been opened, we request that you open one immediately and
keep us informed of the progress of that investigation.  We know that
you share our desire to eliminate this scourge from the military.”

“The Department has received the letter from Senators Gillibrand and
McCaskill, and will respond promptly and directly to them,” said
Pentagon spokesman Major James Brindle. “We appreciate their concerns
regarding this issue.”

An Army spokeswoman said that the U.S. Army’s  Training and Doctrine
Command had previously conducted an investigation that included a review
of issues such as command climate in the unit, particularly as it
related to the training, procedures and enforcement of sexual assault
prevention program.

“The investigation also examined whether unit command statements to
trainees were proper and allegations reported as required.  The
Headquarters Department of the Army is now in receipt of that
investigation and is reviewing it,” the spokesman said.

Both McCaskill and Gillibrand have been at the forefront of reforming
procedures for how the military tackles sexual assault in the
military.  They have been at odds particularly over Gillibrand’s legislation that
would have taken military commanders out of the chain of command  in
deciding whether to prosecute sexual assault in their units.

In the end, the Senate supported McCaskill’s legislation that among
other things said the “good soldier” defense should not be a factor for
commanders in determining if a case should proceed to prosecution.

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5 Comments

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5 Comments on "Senators Want Pentagon Probe of Sex Abuse Intimidation Claims"

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Nkwazema
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hummmmm dis is serious let them investigate it wel, and if d leader is guilty d should prosecute him

juliet
Guest

Well let them keep on with their investigation to find out if the leader is guilty or not.

CHILOVE
Guest

Please, let them investigate it well

chinenyenwa
Guest
chinenyenwa

please i hope and pray that this case will not affect the innocent souls out there

blessing
Guest

A very good investigation shall be carried out

wpDiscuz

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