POSTED: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 7:11am
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:24pm
(Dept. of Defense) —
The Army announced on Tuesday that an Army sergeant first class assigned to III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas, is under investigation for pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID.
The soldier had been assigned as an Equal Opportunity Advisor and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program coordinator with one of the III Corps' subordinate battalions when the allegations surfaced.
The accused was immediately suspended from all duties by the chain of command once the allegations were brought to the command's attention. There have been no charges filed or preferred at this time.
To protect the integrity of the investigative process and the rights of all persons involved, no more information will be released at this time.
During testimony last week before the House Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee, Secretary of the Army John McHugh expressed anger over sexual assaults and sex abuse crimes in the military.
"This is so contrary to everything upon which the Army was built," he said. "To see this kind of activity happening in our ranks is really heart wrenching and sickening."
McHugh told members of Congress that Army leaders are focused on efforts to prevent sexual assaults.
"As I said to our new brigadier general corps when I spoke to them about two weeks ago, 'You can do everything from this point forward in your military career perfectly, but if you fail on this, you have failed the Army'," he said.
Secretary McHugh apprised Secretary Hagel this morning of these allegations and the Army is moving forward, along with the other services, with Secretary Hagel's directive to re-train, re-credential and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters.
Press Secretary George Little released the following statement about the allegations:
Earlier today (Tuesday) Secretary Hagel was informed about the allegations of criminal behavior against an Army sergeant first class who was a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood. I cannot convey strongly enough his frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply.
Secretary Hagel met with Army Secretary McHugh this morning and directed him to fully investigate this matter rapidly, to discover the extent of these allegations, and to ensure that all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately.
To address the broader concerns that have arisen out of these allegations and other recent events, Secretary Hagel is directing all the services to re-train, re-credential, and re-screen all sexual assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters.
Sexual assault is a crime and will be treated as such. The safety, integrity, and well-being of every service member and the success of our mission hang in the balance. Secretary Hagel is looking urgently at every course of action to stamp out this deplorable conduct and ensure that those individuals up and down the chain of command who tolerate or engage in this behavior are appropriately held accountable.