The Number of Substantiated Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Army Brass Rose This Year

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U.S. soldiers salute
America’s First Corps Soldiers salute the colors during the opening ceremony of exercise Yama Sakura 77 at Camp Asaka, Japan, on Dec. 9, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Weaver)

This article originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

The number of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against senior Army officials increased this year, according to an Army Inspector General report recently presented to service leaders and obtained by Task & Purpose.

The document, which lays out broad details of IG investigations undertaken in fiscal 2019, looks at investigations specific to senior Army officials, including "promotable colonels, general officers and senior executives," according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz.

According to the document, the IG received 707 complaints against senior officials in fiscal 2019; only 26 of them, involving 20 senior officials, were substantiated. The Army declined to comment on those specific allegations or the actions taken since the receipt of each complaint.

While there was a 40% decrease in overall investigations of senior officials in 2018, the Army IG notes that there was "an increase in substantiated allegations for both sexual misconduct and personal misconduct" between 2018 and 2019.

The example the document gives for sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships is an allegation that a senior official "engaged in adulterous relationships, inappropriate relationships, or committed sexual harassment."

Sexual misconduct was the top substantiated allegation from 2015 to 2019.

The second most-frequent allegation against active-duty senior officials between 2015 and 2019 is personal misconduct, characterized as allegations such as public intoxication, making false statements, online misconduct or committing theft.

The third and fourth most frequent allegations against senior leaders were failure to obey an order and misuse of government resources.

According to the report, allegations of reprisal are the top complaint the IG investigates.

The report will be used by senior leaders to "work toward proactively reducing misconduct, which has been declining overall," Ortiz told Task & Purpose.

"The Army takes any allegation of sexual or personal misconduct seriously," he said, "and holds individuals who violate established standards accountable."

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