According to a report by The Intercept, a soldier at Fort Sill in Oklahoma filed a formal report of sexual assault last week. In the report, the soldier accuses 22 different service members of assaulting her and identifies 7 of them directly. The assaults allegedly occurred over multiple incidents while the soldier was a trainee at the facility. “The alleged incidents at times involved groups of assailants,” one official told The Intercept. As a result of the pending investigation, several drill sergeants have been suspended by the Department of Defense though the exact number and scope remains unknown.
The allegations are being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Command, the same group responsible for the investigative debacle that was the sexual assault accusation, disappearance, and eventual murder of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen. A military official told The Intercept, “Brass is already calling this Fort Hood 2.0,” the base where Guillen went missing.
It’s too early to know the exact extent of the allegations, though they are severe enough as it is, but as one official put it the term “sex ring” had been brought up on base and it’s not a phrase investigators “love to hear.”
The base’s commander, Major General Ken Kamper is oddly optimistic that any wrongdoing will be uncovered and that the reporting soldier is “safe.” In a statement to Stars and Stripes Kamper said, “We’re proud of the courage she displayed coming forward with these allegations. We’re also committed to protecting the privacy of this soldier.”
Some of the service members who are allegedly involved with the accusation are what’s known in military jargon as cadre. Cadre are “typically officers and noncommissioned officers, are responsible for conducting, leading and overseeing training, including the training for the Army’s newest soldiers.” Kamper says that when it comes to sexual assault it’s not common for cadre to be involved and it is their potential involvement that makes this case “significant” in Kamper’s view.
He added, almost ironically coming from the mouth of an army official, “Sexual assault will not be tolerated. It tears at the fabric of our community.”