The annual study was expected to show a 50 percent jump to about
5,000 reports of sexual assault in the military in the 2013 fiscal
year that ended on September 30, congressional aides said, a figure
in line with preliminary numbers released by the Pentagon in
By comparison, the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
office said 3,374 cases of sexual assault were reported in the 2012
Sexual assault is a hugely underreported crime, and a separate
military survey conducted in 2012 concluded there were some 26,000
sex crimes in the military that year, from rape to abusive sexual
The survey is conducted every two years, so there will be no survey
with the annual report this year to use as a basis for projecting
total sex crimes in the services, congressional aides said.
The figures last year provoked outrage and led to a broad effort
across the military to crack down on sex crimes and sexual
Congress took action to force the military to tighten its response
to the problem, but it ultimately rejected a push by many lawmakers
to take decisions about prosecution of sex crimes out of the hands
of the victims' military commanders.
The release of this year's report comes amid continuing revelations
about tolerance of the problem by some military leaders responsible
for fighting it.
The Navy said last week it was investigating allegations of
misconduct by Captain Gregory McWherter, the former commanding
officer of the Blue Angels, the Navy's precision aerobatics flight
McWherter is accused of tolerating an inappropriate work
environment in the Blue Angels two years ago, allowing or in some
cases encouraging "lewd speech, inappropriate comments, and sexually
explicit humor," the Navy said.
[to top of second column]
Major General Michael Harrison also was recently disciplined for
failing to take appropriate action in response to sexual assault
allegations while he was commander of U.S. Army forces in Japan. He
had been suspended from the post last June when the allegations were
The new sexual assault figures and recent mishandling of some cases
by military commanders are expected to prompt calls for Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, to renew her push to remove
prosecution of the crime from the victims' chain of command.
Army General Martin Dempsey, the highest-ranking military officer,
told defense bloggers earlier this month that the department had a
limited window of opportunity to demonstrate it could deal with the
sexual assault problem.
"If it occurs that after a period of very intense and renewed
emphasis on this that we can't solve it, I‘m not going to fight it
being taken away from us," the military's press service quoted him
(Reporting by David Alexander and Patricia Zengerle;
editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.