- WASHINGTON -- Military criminal
investigators received 1,700 reports of sexual assaults that involved at
least one member of the military in 2004, the Pentagon said Friday.
- This includes cases in which a service member was either
an alleged assailant or a victim. It is the first year the military has
tracked this particular statistic; a move resulting from sexual assault
scandals at the US Air Force Academy and among deployed troops overseas.
- One part of this number that has been tracked in the
past, military members who claimed to be victims of assault, showed a marked
increase over previous years.
- In 2004, 1,275 cases involved at least one member of
the military who said he or she was a victim of sexual assault. That's
up from 1,012 in 2003 and 901 in 2002.
- This would suggest that acts of sexual assault against
military personnel are on the rise, but a military spokesman attributed
the increase to higher awareness in the military about sexual assault issues.
Service personnel thus feel more comfortable coming forward to report the
crime, said Lt. Col. Joe Richard.
- "We have focused our efforts trying to encourage
service members to come forward," Richard said. "The environment
- Still, Richard noted that many sexual assaults go unreported
in both the military and civilian world. This suggests the number of assaults
would be higher. These assaults took place in a population of 1.5 million
active-duty and mobilized National Guard and reserve personnel.