FORT HUACHUCA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Fort Huachuca officials are responding to an Associated Press investigative report that said the U.S. military frequently fails to provide justice to the children of service members when they are sexually assaulted by other children on the base.
It comes a decade after the Pentagon began confronting rape in the ranks, the AP report said. The investigation finds that sex assault cases occurring where military kids live and learn often die on the desks of prosecutors and that criminal investigators shelved an unknown number of reports.
"In Arizona, records the military acknowledges are incomplete show at least nine sex assault reports among children since 2007. Fort Huachuca accounted for eight, including two rapes. The other was at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma," the AP report concluded.
In an email response Tuesday, March 13, Ft. Huachuca Media Relations Officer Tanja M. Linton told Tucson News Now, "The Army addresses violence prevention programs through Army Family Team Building, Family Advocacy programs, Army Community services, and through a Child and Family Behavioral Health System."
These programs include Behavioral Health consultation for children, adolescents and families, school based Behavioral Health in locations with on-post schools, and community outreach at large installations to collaborate with on-post and local community agencies that serve Army children and families, Linton said.
"Sexual assault is a crime. Installation personnel are trained to spot abuse and report it to Child Protective Services or to the police as appropriate," she stated in the email.
The AP investigation found that instead of punishment or rehabilitation for these children charged in the crimes, offenders may be shuffled into the civilian world.
When asked to respond specifically to the AP investigation by Tucson News Now, Linton said that all questions should be directed to the Pentagon for further comment. Our emails to the public affairs office were not replied to by the time of this report.
However, according to the AP report, the Pentagon doesn't know the extent of the problem. In response, Pentagon officials promised "appropriate actions."
"Our military children are precious and we continue to do everything we can to protect them as they grow up in our diverse communities," Linton said in the emailed response. "If you see something, say something. Anyone aware of sexual assault should report it immediately to the Fort Huachuca Military Police at (520) 533-3000."
Follow AP's investigation: apne.ws/iKeqqtl
The Associated Press contributed to this article.