New figures show sexual assault in the U.S. military is on the rise

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski.
CBS News
(CBS News) -- At the end of a sordid several months the Pentagon said Tuesday sexual assault in the ranks is rising rapidly.

That shouldn't come as a surprise - just last spring trials began for 33 instructors at one air base accused of assaulting 63 recruits.

Asked about the issue, President Barack Obama seemed to have run out of patience.

"If we find out somebody's engaging in this stuff, they've got to be held accountable. Prosecuted, stripped of their positions. Court-martialed. Fired. Dishonorably discharged. Period," he said.

The new Pentagon report says the incidence of sexual assault against women in the military is just over 6 percent. CBS News research found the incidence in the general population is 2 percent.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier said Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski's face should launch real change in the military.
CBS News

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski has become the poster boy for sexual assault in the military.

Air Force's sexual assault prevention chief arrested for sexual assault

Congresswoman Jackie Speier pointed to his mug shot as the face that should launch real change in dealing with a long-festering problem.

"It's an indictment of everything we have done on this issue and Congress is as culpable as the military in not addressing it because we have known about this issue for 25 years," said Speier.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined an 8-point plan to combat sexual assault in the military.
CBS News

Krusinski has not been convicted of anything yet, but the man who headed the Air Force office for prevention of sexual assault stands accused of that very crime - for allegedly groping a woman.

The Krusinski case hung over Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he outlined an eight-point plan to combat sexual assault.

Military sexual assault victims testify before Congress
Lackland sex scandal prompts U.S. Air Force to discipline former commanders
Panetta orders action to curb sexual assaults
(Left: Air Force's sexual assault prevention chief arrested for sexual assault.)

"We're all outraged and disgusted over these very troubling allegations. No-one in this building is happy about what happened. We're disappointed but that doesn't fix the problem," said Hagel.

The estimated number of sexual assaults among servicemen and women increased from 19,300 in 2010 to 26,000 last year.

"This department may be nearing a stage where the frequency of this crime, and the perception that there is tolerance of it, could very well undermine our ability to effectively carry out the mission and to recruit and retain the good people we need," said Hagel.

That perception of tolerance comes from the fact that of those estimated 26,000 sexual assault only 1100 offenders were punished by the military.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.