As President Barack Obama calls for help to put an end to sexual assaults in the military, a newly-published investigation has revealed that many cases of misconduct involve US generals and admirals.
The Washington Post, under the Freedom of Information Act, has obtained military files that add to “a litany of revelations about misbehaving brass that have dogged the Pentagon over the past 15 months and tarnished the reputation of U.S. military leadership.”
The report says sexual misconduct among military brass has been spiraling in recent years.
One of the cases involve Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts who publicly warned his troops at Fort Jackson, S.C. that the Army had “zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual assault” while at the time Roberts himself was under investigation by the military over allegations that he physically assaulted a woman on multiple occasions.
Since November 2012, when David H. Petraeus, the CIA director and most renowned Army general of his generation, resigned over an adulterous affair, the US armed forces have struggled to cope with similar disclosures about high-ranking commanders.
The US Navy has recently been confounded by a sex-and-bribery scandal that federal investigators say has reached high into the officer corps.
The Air Force also fired a nuclear commander after investigators said he went on a drinking binge in Moscow.
The Army fired one general for allegedly groping a woman, forced another to retire over accepting expensive gifts, and demoted its top commander in Africa after a probe found he treated himself and his wife to an expensive hotel suite in the Caribbean at taxpayer expense.
“It’s just offensive when you see people do some of the things we’ve seen. It’s just completely offensive,” an Army brigadier general told the Post on condition of anonymity. “As officers, we ought to be held to a higher standard. Some of this stuff you’re seeing with folks is just completely unacceptable.”
The US Defense Department estimated that reported cases of sexual abuse in the military increased nearly 40 percent in 2012 to about 26,000 cases from 19,000 in 2011.
In December, President Obama signed a bill into law that would bar military commanders from overturning jury convictions in sexual assault and rape cases.