President Barack Obama harshly condemned sexual assault in the military Monday, and said that his administration is stepping up efforts to “root this out.”
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Obama said that whoever commits sexual assault in the military is “betraying the uniform they are wearing”
“It’s not patriotic — it is a crime,” he said. “We have to do everything we can to root this out.”
The comments came in response to a question about sexual assault charges filed against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who led the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit. Krusinski was charged Sunday with groping a woman in a Virginia parking lot.
The estimated number of military personnel who experienced sexually assaulted has risen by nearly 33 per cent over two years, according to a new Pentagon report scheduled to be released Tuesday. The report found that bout 2,600 military members anonymously reported being assaulted last year, up from about 19,300 in 2010.
On Tuesday, Obama told reporters that he spoke to Secretary of defence Chuck Hagel earlier in the day to reitirate that the administration has “to not just step our game, but exponentially step up our game, to go at this hard.”
“I have no tolerance for this,” Obama said. “I expect consequences — I don’t want just more speeches and awareness programs and training.”
He added that he wants victims of sexual assault in the military to know that “I’ve got their back.”
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