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Ex-SAPRO chief heads to trial to face sexual battery charge

Jul. 17, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski
Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski (Air Force)
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The trial for the former chief of sexual assault prevention efforts accused in May of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman in an Arlington, Va., parking lot was set to begin July 18.

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor sexual battery charge.

The arrest of Krusinski, who had headed the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at the Pentagon for just two months, came as the Air Force was reeling from a number of embarrassments — including the investigations of dozens of military training instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on allegations of sexual misconduct and a three-star general’s controversial dismissal of a sex assault conviction.

Two days after the arrest, lawmakers grilled Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh on Capitol Hill, who sought to take jurisdiction of the case. Krusinski would have faced a harsher penalty if convicted in a court-martial, where the maximum sentence for the crime is seven years and a dismissal from the service.

But Arlington County prosecutor Theo Stamos said there was no reason to transfer the case to the Air Force. If unsatisfied with the outcome of the case, the military could still bring charges. A person can be tried in a state and federal court for the same crime.

According to the arrest information, a drunken Krusinski approached a woman in a parking lot about 12:35 a.m. May 5. The woman fought him off as he tried to touch her again and contacted police, the report said.

“Lt. Col. Krusinski has a constitutional right to a trial,” defense attorney Barry Coburn said in an email. “We look forward to representing him as he vindicates that right. Beyond that, we will say what we need to say in the courtroom.”

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