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Member Of Fort Hood Sexual Assault Response Team Accused Of Abuse

An Army sergeant who was part of the Fort Hood, Texas, sexual-assault response office is under investigation for abusive sexual contact.

NPR's Larry Abramson is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit:

"The Army refused to release the name of the sergeant first class, who was part of the response team at Fort Hood, Texas, dealing with sexual assault cases. The man faces accusations of pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates. The sergeant was suspended from all duties, and has not been charged. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the Army to investigate."

In a statement, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the Senate Armed Services Committee, which he chairs, is considering ways to counter the problem of sexual abuse in the military.

"Tragically, the depth of the sexual assault problem in our military was already overwhelmingly clear before this latest highly disturbing report," he said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who last week introduced a bill with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., that would provide sexual assault victims in the military greater protections, called the Fort Hood incident "sickening."

"It's an astonishing reminder that the Pentagon has both a major problem on its hands and a tremendous amount of work to do to assure victims - who already only report a small fraction of sexual assaults - that they are changing the culture around these heinous crimes," she said in a statement.

The accusations come just days after a similar case involving an officer in the Air Force's sexual assault response office. The lieutenant colonel was arrested in Virginia for accosting a woman in a parking lot. He faces trial next month.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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