Pentagon's sexual-assault prevention chief steps down
WASHINGTON — The director of the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention efforts is retiring, closing a year in which estimates of sexual misconduct spiked and he was implicated in an effort to cover up abuse at a hospital in Afghanistan.
Army Maj. Gen. Gary Patton has led the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. His office was responsible for the study this spring that estimated there were 26,000 instances of unwanted sexual contact in the military in 2012, an increase of more than a third compared with 2010.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon's inspector general announced this fall that it had determined Patton and his boss, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, had improperly tried to hinder the staff at their training command in Afghanistan in 2011 from talking to investigators about poor conditions at a hospital there.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised Patton, who led troops in combat in Iraq, in announcing his retirement.
“He has a history of tackling tough assignments, and I want to thank him for the transparency, energy, persistence and strong leadership he has brought to the department's sexual assault prevention and response program over these past 18 months,” Hagel said in a statement.
Patton will be replaced by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow next month.
Patton declined to comment on his retirement.
Advocates for sexual assault victims and whistle-blowers said his departure was overdue.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has led an effort to overhaul the military's judicial system to deal with the sexual-assault crisis. She questioned Patton's fitness for the job.
“There are serious questions about Gen. Patton's conduct involving blocking an independent investigation, so I am concerned this decision is more about avoiding getting to the bottom of what happened in that case,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
Danielle Bryan, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said Patton was the wrong choice for the job.
“Patton was not the right person to lead this important program, and his retirement is the first step in restoring credibility to the Pentagon's promise of reducing sexual assaults in the military,” she said.
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.
- California boy sleeps through car theft, brief kidnapping
- Baltimore on edge over man’s fatal spine injury while in custody
- 1Q earnings reports boost stocks
- Jury to weigh death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- GOP to make bid for victory with budget negotiations
- Secret Service, Ebola coverage wins Pulitzers
- S.C. paper wins Pulitzer for reporting on domestic abuse
- Shuster admits to ‘personal relationship’ with airline industry lobbyist
- Federal judge who blocked Obama immigration order painted as unbiased
- Calif. man accused of climbing White House fence released