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Gi Scandal Has Spread To Europe Three Army Ncos Accused Of Abuse At German Center

Associated Press

The sex scandals in the U.S. Army have spread to Germany, where the service relieved three male instructors of their duties after 11 female soldiers accused them of sexual abuse and harassment.

Two of the instructors at Darmstadt training center have been in custody since Feb. 7 after allegedly trying to “influence the testimony” of one woman, the Army said Wednesday.

The third suspect was ordered not to contact any victim or potential witnesses at the training center south of Frankfurt.

It is the most serious sex-abuse scandal to hit a U.S. military installation in Germany in years. At least some of the alleged acts happened after accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland last ovember, which led to the appointment of a panel to investigate the extent of the problem in the Army.

The women in Germany accused the instructors, all noncommissioned officers, of sodomy, indecent assault, cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates, the Army said in response to an inquiry by The Associated Press.

The training center offers a two-week course attended by all soldiers with the 233rd Base Support Battalion and other units around Darmstadt. About 30 students at a time receive instructions about life in Germany and support services available to them.

Terry Viedt, spokeswoman for the 233rd, said she could reveal no details of the allegations because the investigation is not over.

Stars and Stripes, the unofficial newspaper for the U.S. military, reported earlier this week that two women say they were sodomized by two instructors on Dec. 27.

That incident occurred at the barracks room of one of the instructors, the newspaper said. The two women went there voluntarily after encountering the two men at a military bar, the paper said.

The two students drank with the instructors. One of the women said she was tired and went to sleep. The other woman had consensual sex with one of the instructors, but has accused the instructor of sodomizing her despite her objections, Stars and Stripes said.

The other woman awoke later and found herself naked with the other instructor on top of her “engaging in sexual intercourse,” and she alleges she was also sodomized, the paper said.

Military officials are attempting to find and interview all women who had been students at the training center while the three instructors taught there, the paper said. One of the instructors arrived last August and the two others in October, the report said.

The investigation goes back to November, the Army said, when a female soldier complained that she had been sexually harassed by noncommissioned officers at the Darmstadt school.

After initial inquiries, an investigation was ordered on Jan. 10 and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command has so far questioned about 70 people, the Army said.

The Army has been shaken by allegations of sexual misconduct that began surfacing at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., in November. Army officials said seven instructors have been charged.

On Tuesday, the Army suspended its top-ranking enlisted soldier pending the outcome of an investigation of charges that he sexually harassed a female subordinate.

The Army said Wednesday that two more women have made allegations of sex harassment against Sgt. Maj. Army Gene McKinney, who was appointed to the panel investigating the extent of the problem in the service.

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