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Army’s Sex Harassment Scandal Expands To Two More Bases

Sat., Nov. 23, 1996

The Army’s sexual harassment scandal continued to expand across the nation Friday as officials at Fort Jackson, S.C., disclosed two new sexual misconduct investigations and women employees at Fort Bliss, Texas, filed suit charging the Army with sex-discrimination.

Fort Jackson officials also reported that the base had received reports about 30 alleged incidents of sexual misconduct there over the last year, some 27 of which have proved to have merit.

In El Paso, 13 current or former civilian employees at nearby Fort Bliss sued the Army for $3.9 million Friday, claiming they were unfairly were passed over for promotions, fondled and subjected to crude sexual remarks, wire services reported.

The federal class-action suit filed in El Paso complained of years of harassment and discrimination by military and civilian officials at Fort Bliss.

The report about Fort Jackson did not include any details about the two new cases there. Officials of the Rape Crisis Network in Columbia, S.C., said they have been called to Fort Jackson five times in 16 months to investigate charges of rape. They said three of the incidents involved drill sergeants.

The latest disclosures added to a growing number of incidents being reported at Army bases across the nation after the Army announced two weeks ago it had charged a captain and five drill sergeants with misconduct - and in some cases, rape - of female recruits at Aberdeen, Md.

The developments came as top Army officials formally launched a wide-ranging review of sexual misconduct in its ranks, including how effectively its senior chain of command has been carrying out its responsibility to crack down on and to prevent sexual harassment.

In a series of actions, Army Secretary Togo D. West named a nine-member panel to look into the problem and recommend ways to overcome deficiencies. The group, composed of retired officers and senior political appointees, will report back in May.

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