Air Force Sexual Harassment Enforcement Chief Faces Sexual Assault Charges
Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffrey Krusinki, the head of the Air Force’s sexual harassment enforcement, was indicted on sexual assault charges on Monday. The charges stem from a May altercation between Krusinki and a woman who claims she groped her in an Arlington parking lot. The officers on the scene reported that Krusinki was drunk at the time of the incident.
Krusinki was just one of several people in charge of military anti-sexual assault efforts who himself ended up being investigated. In another case, a sergeant who worked as the head of the sexual harassment prevention program at Fort Hood in Texas was suspended for sexual assault.
Cases like this have led New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand to push for new rules for handling sexual assault cases in the military, particularly taking the process out of the chain of command. “Too often these brave men and women are in the fight of their life, and it is not on some far-off foreign soil.” says Gillibrand. “It’s right within their own ranks, with their commanding officer, as victims of horrific acts of sexual violence.”
Gillibrand’s bill would take the reporting process out of commanders hands in the hopes that more victims would come forward.
This comes right on the heels of a recent survey that saw a huge spike in sexual assault reports in the military. The latest Pentagon releases show that there were 3,553 sexual assault complaints over the first nine months of 2013, more than 50 percent higher than over the first nine months of last year. Whether that’s the result of an increase in sexual assaults or more victims simply coming forward is anyone’s guess. Last summer, a survey of all 1.4 million active duty troops found that about 26,000 members of the military had been victims of sexual assault as opposed to 19,000 in 2010.
Gillibrand’s bill has drawn support from both Democrats and Republicans. Even typically anti-Democrat Senators like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have endorsed the bill. Unfortunately, critics see this as taking power out of commanders’ hands and the bill has a lot of push back from the Pentagon. Although she has 46 co-sponsors, the coalition will need to drum up more support to overcome a potential filibuster.
(Image: Associated Press)