Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hagel orders review of sex-abuse prevention

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signed an order Friday requiring the military to review and recertify each person assigned to programs for preventing sexual assault and assisting victims.

The order requires a "review of credentials and qualifications of current-serving recruiters, sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates," and imposes "refresher training" for the approximately 25,000 personnel who are assigned to these programs.

Hagel was responding to growing outrage — across the armed services and the public at large, in Congress and even from President Barack Obama — at the high number of sexual assaults, the failure of military efforts to reduce the problem and inadequacies in assisting victims.

"We all have committed to turn this around, and we're going to fix the problem," Hagel said at a news conference. "The problem will be solved here, in this institution, and we will fix it."

Even so, military officers acknowledged that recertification and retraining efforts, while helpful, were unlikely to prevent the type of assaults and violations of regulations that have so galvanized public attention.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined Hagel at the news conference, and said "the emphasis on prevention is especially important."

"We can and must do more to change a culture that has become too complacent," Dempsey said.

He drew a historic parallel when he noted that, almost four decades ago when he was a young officer, "racial issues and drug abuse tore at the fabric of our service. The Army was broken."

To fix those problems within the military required "moral leadership and a recommitment to professionalism," Dempsey said, and the military successfully "restored trust in the ranks and trust between us and the American people." A similar effort is required to solve what he has called a crisis of sexual assault across the military.

Hagel said he was considering all proposals to reduce sexual assaults, but he declined to endorse any specific proposed legislation, including a measure that would remove adjudication from commanders and give it to a panel outside the victim's chain of command.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left,  and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey speak at the Pentagon on Friday. Hagel ordered a review of the military’s measures for dealing with and preventing sexual abuses.

Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey speak at the Pentagon on Friday. Hagel ordered a review of the military’s measures for dealing with and preventing sexual abuses.

Hagel orders review of sex-abuse prevention 05/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 17, 2013 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Sign up for our daily News at Noon email newsletter


    The Tampa Bay Times will soon launch a daily newsletter called News at Noon. You can make sure to be among the first to receive it by signing up now.

  2. Tampa Bay child welfare agencies get additional state funding, plan to hire more social workers


    TAMPA — Buoyed by the award of an additional $3 million in state funding, Eckerd Kids plans to hire more social workers to ease the strain on Hillsborough County's overburdened child welfare system.

    The child welfare system in Hillsborough County will get an additional $3 million in funding for the upcoming fiscal  year beginning July 1, according to Eckerd Kids, the agency contracted to run the system by the state.
  3. Bill Nelson knocks Rick Scott over Senate health bill


    Sen. Bill Nelson attacked Gov. Rick Scott, his likely 2018 rival, over today's trip to Washington.

  4. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down


    UPDATE, 3:26: And the Rays indeed have Hechavarria at SS and Beckham at 2B. Also, with no DH Dickerson is in left.

    Rays lineup:
    Smith cf,
    Dickerson lf,
    Longoria 3b,
    Morrison 1b,
    Souza rf,
    Ramos c,
    Beckham 2b,
    Hechavarria ss,
    Cobb p

    The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.
  5. LaVar Ball appears at WWE event, son LaMelo uses slur


    LOS ANGELES  -- LaVar Ball has brought his Big Baller Brand from the basketball court to the wrestling ring. 
    The outspoken father of NBA Draft No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball showed up with the newly-minted Los Angeles Laker and another son, 15-year-old son LaMelo, for a live segment on Monday's "WWE …

    LaVar Ball took off his shirt during a WWE broadcast.