US army removes 588 soldiers from crucial posts

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Washington, Feb 27: The US Army removed 588 officials from sensitive jobs such as sexual assault counselors and recruiters after finding they had committed crimes such as sexual assault, child abuse and drunken driving, said an AP report on Wednesday.

This cames after the orders by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last year to review the jobs as part of an effort to stem a rising number of sexual assaults in the military.

The soldiers had committed crimes such as sexual assault and child abuse


The army reviewed the records of 20,000 soldiers and found 588 unsuitable for their jobs as recruiters, drill sergeants, training school instructors and staff of sexual assault prevention and response programs. 79 soldiers are leaving the service and "others could face further actions from their commands", said army in a statement. However, the statement did not say whether the 79 are leaving voluntarily.

Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, said examples of soldier infractions found in the review included sexual assault, child abuse and drunken driving.

"We will continue working to better ensure we select the very best people for these posts, and that the chain of command knows what is expected of them, and how important this work is to the Army," Col. David Patterson, another Army spokesman, said in a statement.

Reportedly, the Navy looked at some 11,000 employees and found five unqualified. The Air Force said that of about 2,500 sexual assault victim advocates and assault response coordinators, two advocates were removed from their jobs because of problems with their backgrounds.

Last year a series of high-profile sexual assault cases were reported by army academy students to generals. This outraged the public and lawmakers who have been pressing for stricter check into such cases in military.

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