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U.S. military academies have sharp jump in reports of sexual assault -Pentagon – Metro US

U.S. military academies have sharp jump in reports of sexual assault -Pentagon

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the Pentagon building in
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. [U.S. Defense Secretary Donald..

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There was a sharp rise in reports of sexual assault at top U.S. military academies during the 2020-2021 academic year, a Pentagon report released on Thursday said, reaching their highest levels since data started to be collected in 2005.

Sexual assault and harassment in the U.S. military is largely underreported, according to the military itself, and the Pentagon’s handling of it has come under renewed scrutiny.

This year President Joe Biden signed an executive order to make sexual harassment an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

In December, lawmakers passed the National Defense Authorization Act which included an overhaul of the military justice system. It would take decisions on whether to prosecute cases of rape and sexual assault out of the hands of military commanders, though activists have said it does not go far enough.

The annual report said there had been 131 reports of sexual assault during the 2020-2021 academic year, up from 88 the year before, though there was little in-person learning during the 2019-2020 academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The highest number of reports before was 122 during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The U.S. Air Force academy saw the largest number of reports last year at 52, followed by 46 at West Point and 33 at the Naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by David Gregorio)

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