A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country.
"This should never be allowed to happen," said one 18-year-old victim. "The recruiter had all the power. He had the uniform. He had my future. I trusted him."
Barry Vogel represents a young woman who wanted to become a Marine, CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reports. But now she's suing the Marines.
"He said to her, outright, if you want to join the Marines, you have to have sex with me," Vogel said. "She was a virgin. She was 17 years old."
The ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services panel has responded to the investigation, saying "outrageous" misconduct by military recruiters needs tougher penalties.
At least 35 Army recruiters, 18 Marine Corps recruiters, 18 Navy recruiters and 12 Air Force recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior with potential enlistees in 2005, according to records obtained by the AP under dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests. That's significantly more than the handful of cases disclosed in the past decade.
The AP also found:
"To have 53 allegations in a year, while it is 53 more than we would want, is not indicative of the entire command of 8,000 recruiters," he said. "We take this very seriously and we take appropriate action as necessary to discipline these people."
Congressman Ike Skelton of Missouri is reacting to an Associated Press investigation that found dozens of disciplinary actions in the past year for recruiter misconduct, ranging from rape to consensual romantic relationships.
Skelton says such abuses are "absolutely unacceptable" and he proposes a military-wide adoption of a "No One Alone" policy. The prohibition against recruiters being alone anywhere with female enlistees was recently adopted by the National Guard.
Skelton says he'll also seek an Armed Services Committee hearing to explore new penalties for recruiters who violate the military code.