Friday, March 7, 2014

Ft. Hood sex assault prevention officer charged in prostitution ring

This is an awful case of sexual abuse within the armed forces at nearby Ft. Hood, TX.    Note, too, that the victims, who were enlisted women, are described as being "cash-strapped."  That is certainly part of the problem: military pay is not as high as most enlistees think it will be, and many recruits wind up in financial difficulty.  The US Senate vote yesterday was very disappointing.  What more evidence do legislators need to show that the chain of command structure is a major factor in military sexual assaults continuing at such high rates?  The last sentence of this article is something every woman or man thinking of enlisting should think very hard about.

Fort Hood sex assault prevention officer charged in prostitution ring

Army officials on Friday charged a former Fort Hood sexual assault prevention officer with 21 counts of abusive sexual contact, pandering, conspiracy and adultery among other charges in a case that had focused national attention on the issue of military sexual assault.
Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen is accused of setting up a prostitution ring at Fort Hood and recruiting young, cash-strapped female privates to have sex with older soldiers. At the time he served as the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention officer for a battalion within Fort Hood’s III Corps headquarters. He has since been suspended from that post.
According to investigative documents obtained by the American-Statesman, the alleged ring was revealed when a young private told authorities McQueen tried to recruit her and then sexually assaulted her during what she termed an “interview.” The soldier said another female soldier told her she made “like $400-$500” at Fort Hood parties, according to the documents.
The private later told a staff sergeant that McQueen “preys on young females who are in bad financial situations and that he keeps their pictures on his cell phone,” according to a sworn statement.
In December, Master Sgt. Brad Grimes, who was accused of taking part in the ring, was found guilty of conspiring to patronize a prostitute and solicit adultery. He was ordered reprimanded and reduced in rank one pay grade.
A pre-trial evidentiary hearing is scheduled to begin March 20 that will determine whether McQueen faces a court-martial on the charges. It wasn’t immediately clear Friday what McQueen’s maximum punishment could be.
When the investigation into McQueen was first revealed last year, it helped spur efforts to revamp the military’s rules on prosecuting sexual assault cases. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate blocked a bill that would have removed prosecution of such cases from the purview of military commanders and put it in the hands of military prosecutors.
Critics say the change would have resulted in the reporting of more sexual assaults. A Pentagon study showed that almost 90 percent of military sexual assaults aren’t reported.

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