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Sexual assault in military: Pentagon report, scandal deal a double blow (+video)

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Krusinski had served in that position since February.

“The alleged recent sexual misconduct of an Air Force official in charge of the Air Force’s own sexual assault prevention and response office serves to undermine” DOD efforts in this arena, said Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) of Massachusetts in a statement released Tuesday.

What’s more, the latest DOD report “indicates a staggering amount of instances of perceived retaliation against victims of sexual assault, which confirms the alarming and persistent anecdotal evidence we have heard,” she added.

Victims’ advocacy organizations weighed in as well.

“This is absolutely infuriating,” said Greg Jacob, policy director of the Service Women’s Action Network, in a statement.

“Clearly the business-as-usual manner in which the military handles sexual assault cases has led to a climate where the very officers in charge of preventing this criminal activity feel that sexual assault is acceptable behavior,” he said. “The military has proven time and again that the current system of prosecuting these cases is broken.”

That fact is readily apparent to many within the military, who have begun to advocate for some changes to the prosecution process from within.

In January, the Air Force launched a pilot program to provide free legal counsel to victims of sexual assault within the service.

In the past, though Air Force prosecutors may have taken on an assault case, “They were responsible for representing the interests of the service, not the interests of the victim,” according to a senior Air Force official.

Combing through the last year of sexual assault statistics, Air Force officials found that nearly one third of victims who agreed to participate in the prosecution of their alleged offender changed their mind before the trial, and decided not to cooperate with the prosecution.

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