Senator: Assaults Let Military Culture Continue

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File photo of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says it’s critically important that the United States strongly confront the insurgent Islamic State organization. (D-NY). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A senator says repeated sexual assaults in the military allow a culture to continue.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand (KEHR’-sten JIHL’-uh-brand) of New York addressed the latest case at West Point. An Army sergeant is charged with secretly taking pictures and video of at least a dozen women at West Point.

Gillibrand tells NBC “Today” that when sexual assault happens repeatedly, with no accountability, quote, “it allows the culture to continue.”

Gillibrand is on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She says sexual assault should be reported outside the chain of command, directly to a military prosecutor, and victims need to know justice is possible.

The West Point case is just the latest in a series. A Pentagon report says as many as 26,000 service members may have been sexually assaulted last year.

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