West Point case adds to military sex abuse scandals
ALBANY, N.Y. — Charges that an Army sergeant secretly photographed and videotaped women at West Point are part of a military-wide pattern of sexual misconduct, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said on Thursday.
The military has been rocked by a series of arrests and incidents of sexual misconduct. But the news from the venerable U.S. Military Academy — where the motto is “Duty. Honor. Country.” — could be particularly embarrassing. The Army said on Wednesday that a sergeant at West Point had been charged with secretly photographing and videotaping at least a dozen women at the academy, including in a bathroom.
The allegation surfaces the same month the Pentagon released a report estimating that as many as 26,000 military members may have been sexually assaulted last year and that thousands of victims are unwilling to come forward despite new oversight and assistance programs.
Gillibrand said the West Point charges illustrate a culture and reporting system that allows predators to remain in service. Service members afraid of retaliation or jeopardizing their careers often are reluctant to bring charges of sexual misconduct to their superiors, she said.
“This case is another case in a long line of incidents where we have clear evidence that the military did not understand how to handle this problem of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct,” Gillibrand told The Associated Press. “Obviously, you're not having a level of accountability that is going to prevent these incidents and send a clear message that this criminal behavior is unacceptable.”
Gillibrand, who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is pushing for a system in which sexual assault is reported outside the chain of command, directly to a military prosecutor.
West Point was named along with military officials in a lawsuit filed in April 2012 seeking the court's help in permanently changing attitudes about sexual assault at military academies. The lawsuit claims the nation's military academies “systemically and repeatedly ignore rampant sexual harassment.” The suit said a 20-year-old Pennsylvania woman resigned from West Point when she became suicidal after her rape by a roommate's boyfriend, who remained in her unit after she reported she was attacked.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Minn. dentist laying low in slaying of lion
- Fetal parts in Planned Parenthood lab shown in 4th video
- Protesters ousted in bid to block Shell icebreaker on Portland river
- Wildfires force hundreds from homes in California
- Only 1 co-op health program, of 23, made money in 2014, report says
- Christian college in Illinois to stop providing health care over Obamacare
- McClatchy: Emails on Clinton’s private server contain Benghazi information
- Ex-Cincy cop pleads not guilty, posts bond
- VA whistle-blowers aghast
- Highway bill on Obama’s desk extends funding 3 months
- Piece of plant found on island on way to France for analysis