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Groping allegation against Army officer who helps fight sex crime

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
updated 8:20 AM EST, Fri March 7, 2014
  • Investigation focuses on alleged incident in 2011
  • The officer has been suspended from his job, pending the outcome of the probe
  • NEW: The alleged incident occurred at a training conference on prosecuting sex assault

(CNN) -- The U.S. Army is investigating an allegation that an officer whose job includes training sex crimes prosecutors groped a female lawyer in 2011, an Obama administration official told CNN.

The Army did not name the officer but the official identified him as Lt. Col. Joseph Morse, who has been suspended from his duties as chief of a service-wide legal program based in Virginia.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command is investigating and also will look for any other misconduct as a routine part of the probe, according to the official, who was not identified for full attribution due to the ongoing investigation.

An Army spokesman confirmed the probe and said the officer had been suspended, but did not provide any additional information.

The grouping allegedly occurred at a litigation training conference on prosecuting sex assault, the official told CNN.

Stars and Stripes and the Washington Post first reported on the investigation.

Stars and Stripes also reported that Morse was the lead prosecutor in the case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty to the mass murder of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.

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