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For the second time in a month, a service member charged with guarding against sexual assault has been accused of committing it — and this time it’s a soldier.
Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating a sergeant first class in Fort Hood, Tex., for “abusive sexual contact, assault” and other alleged misconduct, according to the Army.
The sergeant — who hasn’t been named — is facing allegations involving three women, including that he may have arranged for one of them to have sex for money, the Associated Press is reporting, citing an unnamed defense official.
The official says it’s not yet clear if the sergeant forced the woman into what may have been prostitution.
According to the official, the sergeant is also being investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting one of the other two women.
The allegations involving a third woman weren’t known.
The soldier had been assigned as an Equal Opportunity Advisor and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program coordinator with one of the III Corps’ subordinate battalions when the allegations surfaced.
The soldier was placed under suspension. No charges had been filed in the case.
Last week, an Air Force officer who headed a sexual assault prevention office was arrested on charges of groping a woman in a Northern Virginia parking lot.
As the new allegations emerged, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed directing all the services to re-train, re-credential, and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters.
“I cannot convey strongly enough his frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little.
Army Secretary John McHugh expressed anger over sexual assaults in the military in recent congressional testimony.
“This is so contrary to everything upon which the Army was built,” he said. “To see this kind of activity happening in our ranks is really heart wrenching and sickening.”
McHugh told members of Congress Army leaders are focused on efforts to prevent sexual assaults.
“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 said.
Members of Congress say it’s time for Hagel to get tough on the issue.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon said he was “outraged and disgusted” by the reports. Citing his granddaughter’s Army service, he said fighting sexual assault would be the “cornerstone” of this year’s annual defense bill.
McKeon called on Hagel, “to conduct a review of the military and civilian leadership within the military services to determine whether they continue to hold his trust and his confidence to lead in this area. With regard to sexual assault, my confidence in them is deeply shaken.”