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Fort Sill investigating sexual assault claim implicating up to 22 soldiers

Study links military sexual harassment to assaults
Study links sexual harassment to higher assault risk in military 00:21

Seven instructors at Fort Sill in Oklahoma have been suspended and as many as 22 have been implicated after a trainee reported in March that she had been sexually assaulted. The Army Criminal Investigative Division is conducting an investigation into the claims. 

The Intercept first reported the number implicated. 

Major General Ken Kamper revealed the investigation in a press briefing on Thursday. He said a female trainee reported on March 27 she was the victim of sexual assault involving Fort Sill cadre. It is not clear when the assault took place. 

"The thought of sexual assault, something like this, happening in our Army here at Fort Sill deeply saddens me," Kamper said. "Every single soldier deserves to be treated with dignity and respect." 

Kamper said the soldier is safe, has a special victims counsel and access to all victims' services. The Department of the Army is sending additional specialized CID personnel and providing more attorneys to Fort Sill to assist, according to a press release

"The Cadre potentially involved in this allegation have been suspended from their normal duties, removed from any trainee environment and all are presumed innocent pending a full and thorough investigation," Kamper told reporters. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been kept informed of the investigative efforts, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday.  

The investigation comes during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and within the 90-Day Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military that the Department of Defense ramped up in March to provide recommendations to prevent and handle sexual assault cases. 

Fort Sill, located about 90 miles from Oklahoma City, is an artillery training center. The base houses about 53,000 people, including 20,000 military and civilian personnel, and 33,000 military family members, according to the Department of Defense.

Eleanor Watson contributed reporting.

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