Sexual harassment in the Army?
That's old news to some servicewomenNovember 13, 1996
Web posted at: 9:45 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Jamie McIntyre
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Newly publicized allegations of sexual harassment in the military come as no surprise to some women in uniform.
Investigations of Army supervisors at bases in Maryland and Missouri are being expanded to bases around the U.S. and the world. The Army claims it has sent a strong message to its soldiers that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.
But one veteran female officer, who requested anonymity and whose voice was disguised for a CNN interview, said that's just not reality.
The Army captain investigated a case similar to the allegations in the news today: a non-commissioned officer accused of improper sex with a trainee.
"I found the allegations that the private had against this first sergeant to be true to the point where I actually discovered letters that he had written to her saying he loved her," the captain said.
But she said Army commanders pressured her to clear the soldier because of his good combat record. She refused.
As a result, she says she was identified as "not a team player" and "somebody who didn't tow the party line, or was not willing to bend to cronyism within the chain of command."
The Pentagon's own survey released this summer backs up that complaint. In the Army, less than half of women soldiers -- 47 percent -- thought senior leaders made "honest and reasonable efforts to stop sexual harassment."
The captain later filed a harassment complaint herself, claiming a major exposed himself and assaulted her.
"He would come into my office and say, 'you look like you need a hug today,' grab me, push my breasts into his chest and his pelvis into my pelvis and -- basically just lewd behavior, beyond shocking behavior," she said.
But now, even critics are giving the Army some credit for apparently taking the situation seriously.
It's not just an Army problem. A new complaints hotline has fielded more than 3,000 calls, resulting in more than 300 cases of possible sexual abuse in all the services that need to be investigated.
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