Mil­i­tary re­cruiters cited for sex abuse of fe­male ap­pli­cants

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Morethan100y­oung­wom­en­who ex­pressed in­ter­est in join­ing themil­i­tary in the past year were preyed upon sex­u­ally by their re­cruiters. Women­wer­erape­don re­cruit­ing of­fice couches, as­saulted in gov­ern­ment­carsand­gro­pe­den­route to en­trance ex­ams, a six-month in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the As­so­ci­ated Press found.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that more than80mil­i­tary re­cruiters were dis­ci­plined last year for sex­ual mis­con­ductwith po­ten­tial en­lis­tees. The cases oc­curred across all branches of the mil­i­tary and in all re­gions of the coun­try.

“This should never be al­lowed to hap­pen,”one18-year-old­vic­tim said. “The re­cruiter had all the­p­ower.He had the uni­form. He­hadmy fu­ture. I trusted him.”

At least 35 Army re­cruiters, 18 Marine Corps re­cruiters, 18 Navy re­cruiters and 12 Air Force re­cruiters were dis­ci­plined for sex­ual mis­con­duct or other in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior with po­ten­tial en­lis­tees in 2005, ac­cord­ing to records ob­tained bytheAPun­der­dozens of Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quests. That’s sig­nif­i­cantly more than the hand­ful of­cas­es­dis­closedinthep­ast­decade.

The AP also found:

The Army, which ac­counts for al­most half of the mil­i­tary, has had 722 re­cruiters ac­cused of rape and sex­ual mis­con­duct since 1996.

Across all ser­vices, one out of 200 front­line re­cruiters — the ones whodeal di­rectly with­y­oung­peo­ple — was dis­ci­plined for sex­ual mis­con­duct last year.

Some cases of im­proper be­hav­ior in­volved ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships, and some­times those re­la­tion­ships were ini­ti­ated by the women.

Most re­cruiters found guilty of sex­ual mis­con­duct are dis­ci­plined ad­min­is­tra­tively, fac­ing a re­duc­tion in rank or for­fei­ture of pay; mil­i­tary and civil­ian crim­i­nal prose­cu­tions are rare.

The Pen­tagon has com­mit­ted more than $1.5 bil­lion to re­cruit­ing ef­forts this year. De­fense De­part­ment spokes­woman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke­saidthatea­chofthe­ser­vices takes the is­sue of sex­ualmis­con­duct by re­cruiters “very se­ri­ously and haspro­cess­esin­place­toiden­ti­fyand deal­with­those­mem­ber­swhoact in­ap­pro­pri­ately.”

Th­e­sex­ualmis­con­duc­tal­mostal­ways takes place in re­cruit­ing sta­tions, re­cruiters’ apart­mentsor­gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cles, theAP­found.The vic­tims are typ­i­cally be­tween 16 and 18 years old, and they usu­ally are think­ing about en­list­ing. They usu­ally meet the re­cruiters at their high schools, but­some­times at malls or re­cruit­ing of­fices.

“We had been drink­ing, yes. And we went to the re­cruit­ing sta­tion at about­mid­night,”oney­oung­woman’s story be­gins.

The 18-year-old from Ukiah, Calif., hides her face in her­hand­sas she de­scribes the night when MarineCorps re­cruiter then-Sgt. Brian Fukushima climbed into her sleep­ing bag on the floor of the sta­tion. Two other re­cruiters were hav­ing sex with two of her friends in the same room.

“Idon’t like to talk about it. I don’t like to think about it,” she says.

Fukushima was con­victed of mis­con­ducti­namil­i­tarycourtafterother young women re­ported sim­i­lar as­saults. He left the ser­vice witha lessthan-hon­or­able dis­charge last fall.

His mil­i­tary at­tor­ney, Capt. James Weir­ick, said Fukushima is “sorry that he let his fam­ily down and the Marine Corps down.”

“It­wasalap­sein­judg­ment,”Capt. Weir­ick said.

All of the re­cruiters the APspoke with said they were rou­tinely alone in their of­fices and cars with young women.They also all agreed that the lines were clear: Re­cruiters do not sleep with en­lis­tees.

“Any re­cruiter that would try to claim that, ‘Oh, it’s con­sen­sual,’ they are ly­ing, they are ly­ing through their teeth,” for­mer Marine Corps re­cruiter Ethan Walker said. “The re­cruiter has all the power in th­ese sit­u­a­tions.”

Marine Sgt. Ed­ward Green in­tro­duces male and fe­male re­cruits to mil­i­tary for­ma­tions at a re­cruit­ing cen­ter in San Jose, Calif.

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