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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 9:34am
Washington, DC — The officer in charge of preventing sexual assaults in the Air Force is now accused of committing one. Lt. Col Jeffrey Krusinski had been in charge of a section of the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program only since February.
He was immediately removed from his Pentagon post after being arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly approaching a woman in a parking lot and fondling her. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expressing "outrage and disgust" over the officer's arrest.
It's a huge embarrassment for the Pentagon, which has been wracked by the scandal of sexual assault. The Pentagon is expected to announce an increase in reported sexual assaults in 2012, but as always, officials say it's not entirely clear if that's due to an increase in incidents or more victims becoming more comfortable in reporting what is often a crime kept silent.
In 2011 there were a total of 3,192 reports of sexual assault involving service members. The issue is getting plenty of attention from Congress.
The Pentagon has increased its efforts to hold perpetrators accountable establishing a "special victims unit" with specially trained investigators and prosecutors, trying to improve tracking of sexual assault reports, and now service members who report a sexual assault can more quickly transfer from their unit, and away from their alleged perpetrator.
Defense Secretary Hagel also has made clear his willingness to take this issue on. He's agreed to look at overhauling the Military Justice System so those convicted of crimes such as sexual assault cannot readily have those convictions overturned.