Army adding lawyers for sex crimes

January 26, 2009 5:41:21 PM PST
The Army has launched an offensive against sex abuse in its ranks.

It's adding prosecutors, rearranging its criminal investigative unit and stepping up training to change behavior. The moves are aimed at stemming crimes that Army Secretary Pete Geren called "repugnant to the core values" of the military service. He says it's a crime that "destroys unit cohesion."

Last year, an estimated 15 percent of about 9,000 Army investigations involved sexual assault allegations. But only 137 cases went to trial. Many cases involving inappropriate comments or other offenses were punished by internal disciplinary action instead of criminal charges.

Reports of sexual assaults jumped by about 24 percent in 2006 and nearly 40 percent in 2005.

A report earlier this year showed that a third of women in the military and 6 percent of men reported that were sexually harassed.