Air Force officer in sex assault case appears at court hearing

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, is pictured in this undated handout photo released May 6, 2013 by the Arlington County Police Department. REUTERS/Arlington County Police Department/Handout
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, is pictured in this undated handout photo released May 6, 2013 by the Arlington County Police Department. REUTERS/Arlington County Police Department/Handout

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, accused of sexual battery in a case that has acutely embarrassed the military, stood silently in civilian court on Thursday as his attorney argued unsuccessfully for a later trial date.

Krusinski, 41, was chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention and response branch when he was arrested on Sunday for allegedly groping the breasts and buttocks of a woman in a parking lot near the Pentagon.

One source told Reuters that the woman and Krusinski were not acquaintances.

While Krusinski is presumed innocent unless convicted, the case is becoming a symbol of the rising problem of sexual assault in the military highlighted in a Pentagon report this week.

Wearing a black blazer, khaki pants and striped tie, the stocky Air Force officer stood silently as Arlington County General District Court Judge Richard McCue set a trial date for July 18.

A dark shadow of a bruise could be seen under his left eye.

The police report of the arrest on Sunday said a drunken man approached a woman in a parking lot, grabbed her, and she fought off the suspect when he tried to touch her for a second time.

The Pentagon report which showed a 37 percent increase in sexual assault in the military last year rattled Washington.

Top White House officials and lawmakers met on Thursday to discuss how to toughen laws to prevent and punish sexual assault in the military.

“If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable – prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period. It’s not acceptable,” President Barack Obama said earlier this week.

Krusinski, a personnel officer, has been removed from the sexual assault prevention position and reassigned to force management and readiness analysis where his specific job was still being determined, an Air Force spokeswoman said.

The military had initially requested jurisdiction, but the Arlington County prosecutor decided to keep the case and prosecute it in civilian court.

At the arraignment, half of the courtroom was filled with reporters, while outside the court building a line of television cameras gathered. Krusinski walked past the throng of media, staring straight ahead, without saying a word. His attorney, Sheryl Shane, would not comment either.

In the courtroom, Shane argued for a later court date, saying more time was needed to prepare for trial, but the judge decided against that. Shane also said she did not know how many witnesses the defense would call and the trial might take longer than one day.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton)


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

PHOTOS: Who is Alix Tichelman?

Who is Alix Tichelman, the high end call girl who allegedly murdered a Google executive?

National

Washington state approves first producer of pot edibles

  A Seattle-based company that makes marijuana-infused drinks and candies has become the first business in Washington approved to make edible pot products for the…

National

Florida cat owners call 911 after Russian blue…

By Barbara ListonORLANDO Florida (Reuters) - Kush the cat was quarantined in central Florida after her owner called 911 over the weekend for help, saying…

Local

Times Square costumed characters under scrutiny

Costumed characters in Times Square are under scrutiny after a string of incidents involving Elmo, Woody, Mario and Spider-Man.

Going Out

What to do this week in NYC: July…

Le Fooding Beach Club Presents: San Pellegrino Fruitstock at the Rockaways Friday-Sunday, Noon; $40 Beach 97 97-01 Shorefront Pkwy., Rockaway Beach Picnic on the beach…

Going Out

Where to eat on Bastille Day in NYC

We had ours on the Fourth of July, now it’s time for France’s equivalent on July 14. Go out and show your solidarity with the…

Books

What to eat while you read

A smudge of chocolate on a page never hurt anyone.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, July 9: 'The Bridge,'…

See Diane Kruger solve some mysteries in the second season premiere of "The Bridge."

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

MLB

A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful…

http://youtu.be/Hg61JOZJrYM?t=29s While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

World Cup

World Cup semifinals preview: Holland vs. Argentina

The second semifinal pits another South American soccer power against a European one.

MLB

MLB power rankings: Athletics cement spot on top,…

The Athletics cement spot on top of our MLB power rankings with a huge trade, while L.A. teams follow.

Wellbeing

Bastille Day: How to play petanque

If drinking bordeaux while eating a croque monsieur and wearing a beret isn't French enough for you, then grab some friends for a round of…

Style

Give it up for French fashion: Bastille Day

In honor of Bastille Day we round up some French-inspired wardrobe essentials.

Tech

Potato salad Kickstarter reaches over $70,000

All Zack Danger Brown wanted to do was make potato salad and find a few dollars for ingredients, as Metro mentioned earlier this week when…

Education

American teenagers are lagging behind when it comes…

American high schoolers have a hard time answering basic questions about bank accounts, saving money and credit cards. That's according to a new study by…