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May 9, 2013 11:17 PM by Eric Ross

Air force sex scandal heats up

A troubling arrest in Virginia is pushing a decade old Air Force Academy sex scandal back into the headlines.

An Air Force officer who ran the branch's sexual assault prevention unit is now charged with sexual assault.

Following the 2003 nationwide scandal, the Department of Defense put mandatory regulations in place to prevent this violent behavior from happening. As those programs continue, some question the teeth behind it after the man sworn to protect cadets now faces unthinkable allegations.

Lietenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a parking lot in Virginia. A police report indicates he grabbed her breasts and buttocks before the woman fought back.

"There's been a lot of trouble going on in the military branches including the Air Force," sexual assault response coordinator Teresa Beasley said.

This week's news has sparked outrage across America.

"The military culture has to be changed," California Rep. Jackie Speier said. "It has to be scrubbed of this attitude that boys will be boys."

President Obama is getting involved too after a recent report from The Pentagon shows an alarming rise in military sexual assaults.

"When you engage in this behavior, it is not patriotic," President Obama said. " It is a crime and we have to do everything we can to root this out."

According to the report, 70 members of the military on average are sexually assaulted each day. Unreported cases of sexual assaults also skyrocketed from 19,000 to 26,000 last year.

"There's a lot of barriers to reporting sexual assault," Beasley said. "Typically there are no witnesses when these events occur. It's usually done behind closed doors when there's only two people in the room. There's typically no evidence and there's delayed reporting."

Sexual assaults are one of the most underreported crime in America. News of the problem within the military only surfaced in 2003 following a lengthy investigation. Of roughly 650 women enrolled at the academy at that time, 70-percent alleged to have been victims of sexual harassment.

Many fear coming forward.

"People are afraid, especially in the military that reporting it may hurt their career or the offenders career," Beasley said.

The U.S. Air Force Academy wants to silence that belief, and is trying to encourage an open line of communication between counselors and cadets.

"Anyone that walks into this office who has been assaulted means a victory for me because we are able to help them," Beasley said. "We have great counseling resources. It's a traumatic event and can effect the rest of their lives unless they seek help."

Krusinski had been the branch chief for the sexual assault prevention and response team since February. He has since been removed from that job pending an investigation of that incident. He's free on $5,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail.

The U.S. Air Force Academy could not comment further regarding the charges against Krusinski.



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