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Army chief lays into force
Scathing video warning posted online as Army chief David Morrison leaves little doubt about his views on another ‘demeaning’ military sex scandal.
The Australian Defence Force hierarchy knew an exploitative internet sex ring was operating within its ranks almost three years ago but did not involve police until the middle of last year, it emerged on Saturday.
Fairfax Media asked Defence when the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) began its investigation of the matter . An Army spokeswoman confirmed it first became aware of the unfolding scandal in September 2010.
NSW Police has stated that Kings Cross Local Area Command established Strike Force Civet in July last year – after being alerted in June.
Denial: Defence Minister Stephen Smith claims the military were not made to go public. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The latest revelation exposes a period of 21 months during which ADFIS conducted an internal investigation before approaching NSW Police for help.
On Saturday the Department of Defence said ADFIS conducted an investigation between late 2010 to mid 2011, and involved police three months after the launch of the investigation.
The statement revealed the investigation was first referred to Victoria Police, and the Australian Federal Police were also initially involved .
Two years after a cadet was publicly exposed broadcasting himself having sex with a female counterpart on Skype, the Australian Defence Force has once again been rocked by sex abuse allegations, this time involving at least 17 male officers – including a lieutenant-colonel, the sixth highest rank in the army.
Calling themselves the Jedi Council, the sex ring ”picked up” women in locations such as airport lounges and bars, then filmed them performing sexually explicit acts.
The ADF went public with the revelations on Thursday when the Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison, announced three personnel had been stood down and 14 others were being investigated in relation to ”demeaning, explicit and profane” emails . He also confirmed a brief relating to the three sacked personnel had been forwarded to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith has since denied the military was forced to go public because it was about to be exposed by other agencies involved.
An ADF spokeswoman said investigators had simply needed a period of time to ”do what they needed to do” without triggering potential ”adverse effects”.
Do you know more ?
I get turned on by it .
Apparently it’s normal because it takes away a women’s choice which society sees as slutty so we can relax
I often want to look for it but am scared the police will knock on my door
When the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the U.S . military s sexual assault crisis, lawmakers grilled Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine officials on the alarmingly high number of rapes and other sexual abuses in their ranks.
Political momentum to address the problem has been building since the Pentagon released statistics1 last month showing that sexual assault increased by 35 percent between 2010 and 2012 . The outcry grew louder when a string of scandals came to light, including alleged sexual assaults by Army and Air Force officials who were in charge of preventing sexual abuse.
Senators have rushed to draft legislation to hold attackers accountable and provide support for victims .
But at the Senate hearing, officials steadfastly opposed most major changes in the way sexual assault cases are prosecuted . It will undermine the readiness of the force and will hamper the timely delivery of justice, said Army Chief of Staff2 Ray Odierno.
Here s a rundown of key congressional proposals and what the military is saying about them.
In the past month, there have been not one but two instances of soldiers working in Sexual Assault Prevention and Response offices charged with sexual assault.
1 . Stop giving military commanders the final say on rape convictions.
Under the military s criminal procedures, commanders have clemency powers, which means they can dismiss military court convictions for any reason or no reason .
Col . James Wilkerson, a fighter pilot, was guilty of aggravated sexual assault . Another official, Air Force Lt .
In April, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel voiced support5 for stripping commanders of this power . Under Hagel s proposal, commanders could still reduce someone s sentence but would have to submit a reason in writing .
Sens . Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., have called for similar changes . Rep .
Military officials are open to reforming the policy, though they say the Wilkerson case inflated outrage over a rarely-used power . Sen . Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Armed Services Committee and former Air Force lawyer7, has been the only lawmaker to speak out against the proposed change in policy.
Have lawyers determine which assault cases are credible not the defendant s boss.
Sen . Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has called for the most major shift in how the military tries sexual assault cases . Now, commanders decide which cases are investigated and prosecuted, and which are thrown out .
Gillibrand s bill proposes giving independent military prosecutors that power for sex crimes and other serious charges . Commanders have an incentive to ignore rape allegations8, advocates of the change say, because it reflects poorly on their leadership.
Military officials are strongly opposed to such a change in authority . The consequences of such a decision would be extraordinarily damaging to the nation s security, Army Gen .
Martin Dempsey wrote in a letter to9 the Armed Services Committee chairman, Sen . Carl Levin, D-Mich . The change would undermine good order and discipline by sending a message that commanders cannot be trusted, Dempsey said.
Make sure a sex crime conviction means losing your job.
Sen . McCaskill has led a bipartisan effort10 to require that anyone convicted of rape, sexual assault, forcible sodomy, or an attempt to commit any of those offenses be dismissed or given a dishonorable discharge.
At the hearing, McCaskill argued that a soldier s job performance shouldn t be a factor in deciding whether to move forward with sexual assault cases . Currently, commanders may consider it when deciding whether to prosecute .
Lt . Gen .
Richard C . Harding of the Air Force argued during the hearing that a defendant s character should be relevant in determining the case but should not have overriding weight.
4 . Scrutinize officers appointed to prevent sexual assault.
In the past month, there have been not one but two instances of soldiers working in Sexual Assault Prevention and Response offices charged with sexual assault .
The chief of the Air Force s prevention office was arrested last month12 for groping a woman . A week later, an Army sergeant working as a sexual assault program coordinator was arrested on multiple accusations of sexual abuse and for running a prostitution ring13.
Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., have introduced a bill15 that would elevate those jobs to a higher status, requiring stricter screening and more certification . In a letter to Secretary Hagel16, Shaheen and McCaskill wrote that In many cases, no interviews are required, and the commander plays a hands-off role in choosing who will perform those duties . The bill would require a commander to pick someone for the post.
Make it easier for sexual assault victims to access disability benefits.
While the Senate was hearing testimonies by military officials, the House unanimously passed legislation to increase access17 to disability benefits for sexual assault victims in the military . Veterans battling military sexual trauma face a higher burden of proof than those with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD . And because most sexual assaults go unreported, there is often little evidence available .
Under the proposed law, veterans would only have to show they were diagnosed with a mental health condition that stems from military sexual assault.
- ^ released statistics (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ said Army Chief of Staff (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ overturned a jury s ruling (www.stripes.com)
- ^ blocked from a promotion (articles.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ voiced support (www.cnn.com)
- ^ introduced a House bill (speier.house.gov)
- ^ a member of the Armed Services Committee and former Air Force lawyer (thehill.com)
- ^ incentive to ignore rape allegations (www.pbs.org)
- ^ wrote in a letter to (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ bipartisan effort (www.mccaskill.senate.gov)
- ^ McCaskill said (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ arrested last month (www.nytimes.com)
- ^ running a prostitution ring (www.usatoday.com)
- ^ Hagel immediately demanded (abcnews.go.com)
- ^ have introduced a bill (www.shaheen.senate.gov)
- ^ letter to Secretary Hagel (www.shaheen.senate.gov)
- ^ legislation to increase access (pingree.house.gov)
- ^ post (www.propublica.org)
- ^ ProPublica (www.propublica.org)
By: David Alexander, Reuters
June 11, 2013 11:33 AM
US Army chief General Ray Odierno greets new recruits after leading them in their oath in this file photo. (photo by Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)
WASHINGTON — The US Army is failing to deal with sexual assault in its ranks because too many soldiers in positions of authority do not think there is a problem, the Army chief of staff told a summit of leaders called to address the issue.
General Ray Odierno told a gathering of officials in the Army’s Sexual Harassment, Assault Response and Prevention program that when he travels to different bases and speaks to smaller units, he finds too many sergeants, lieutenants and captains who say they do not have a sex assault problem.
“That’s baloney,” he said. “That’s the problem . We’re not seeing ourselves.”
Some think because they are in an all-male unit, they don’t have a sexual assault problem, Odierno said.
“That’s not right,” he said. “In fact, you probably have some perpetrators, probably have some predators and you probably have some males who have probably been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed.”
“We have not been successful in solving this problem,” Odierno said. “We have a huge issue . And the main thing I want everybody to understand is that this is not just a passing issue .
For whatever reason, this is one that we’ve had for a very long time . And we have not been able to defeat it.”
Odierno’s remarks come as the Pentagon is struggling to deal with a big jump in estimated cases of unwanted sexual contact, as well as a spate of high-profile cases of sexual assault, including some involving personnel charged with combating the crime.
An annual Pentagon study released recently estimated that unwanted sexual contact, from groping to rape, jumped by 37 percent in 2012 to 26,000 cases from 19,000 the previous year.
The issue has triggered outrage among lawmakers . Some are pushing legislation to force the military to be more accountable in handling sexual assault cases, and others are seeking to remove responsibility for prosecuting the crimes from the victim’s military chain of command.
At the weekend, Odierno and Army Secretary John McHugh suspended the commanding general of US Army forces in Japan, Major General Michael Harrison, due to allegations he failed to properly investigate a sexual assault complaint.
“From the things I see, we still have people out there who tolerate sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Odierno told the summit. “Until we solve that problem, it’s going to get worse.”
He said dealing with the problem meant getting leaders from sergeants to lieutenant colonels to “take this on seriously, because we are not doing that today the way I want us to do it.”
“This is important to me .
I want to make sure everybody understands that,” Odierno said. “I sent a message out that said it’s my number one priority right now .
And I’m not kidding.”
It’s Wednesday, so time for another installment of Intermet1! How long have you and Jeremy been together? We will have been dating for 3 years come July, and we got engaged after being together just over 2 years. Which online dating website did you use? We used OkCupid2 . I had used other sites in the past including Match.com3 and eHarmony4 . Those sites were good to get dates but they never really materialized into anything .
I had a flamed-out date tell me about OKC so I joined . I mean, it was free and acted just like Match.com5 ! I liked the format and there were some great guys on there (obviously). What was your worst experience in online dating? Ha !
Where to start ? I met one guy that, while we were making out, said, “I want to do you.” I stopped him and said, “Did you just say that?!” and he said, “Well I do.” Ha ! That was enough for me; I couldn’t believe someone would say that to me .
You can say I never saw him again! Do you tell people you met online ? If so, how do you do it? Yes we did . It was hard to come up with some sort of story so we just decided to be honest and tell people .
You would be surprised at how many people say they met someone online or knew someone who met online. Do you recommend online dating? Yes I would . Are there crazies out there ? Yes .
But there are tons of crazies everywhere…no matter if it’s online or not . I personally think online dating is better than just randomly finding someone at a bar (don’t do that!) . Why do I think that ?
The ball is in the girls’ court (which I liked) . Most guys are very respectful of the girls’ wishes/concerns/requests about where to meet . You can really scope out the guys before you meet someone .
You might still have a weirdo lurking around but more than likely, you have fished them out before you meet them . Thanks for telling us about your relationship, Kristyn ! Do you want to be featured in our Intermet’s Online Dating Success Stories series ?
Leave a comment below or email Sarah for more information !
Make sure to have your email attached to your comment so I can contact you!