Nightly News   |  May 15, 2013

Army sexual assault reveals culture of silence

Military sources tell NBC News the man in charge of sexual assault prevention in Fort Hood, Texas, may have allegedly coerced a female soldier into prostitution. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> so from this confluence we have been talking about at the white house across the river to the pentagon to a new revelation that another military service member in charge of dealing with sexual assault is accused instead of committing them. this time it's an army sergeant first class at ft. hood in texas . the allegations are the latest in a long string of sexual assault scandals. has people wondering what's wrong within the culture at the military. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski from the pentagon with more. jim, good evening.

>> reporter: brian, late today government officials told nbc new it is army found this latest sex scandal in texas may be bigger than originally thought and that others may be involved. this latest sexual assault scandal broke at ft. hood, texas . military sources tell nbc newses an army investigation found that the soldier in charge of sexual assault protection, an army sergeant first class allegedly coerced a female soldier into prostitution. two other female soldiers refused to participate. one was allegedly sexual assaulted. last week air force colonel jeff krisinski was arrested and charged with sexual battery for allegedly molesting a woman near the pentagon. lawmakers on capitol hill are outraged.

>> the very person that is supposed to be there to protect you in the military is found to be abusing women. how can any woman in the military say that i have a safe place to turn?

>> reporter: defense secretary chuck hagel ordered that some 9,000 military officials involved in sexual assault prevention be rescreened and retrained. but the pentagon's latest report shows sexual assault in the military is out of control. the estimated number of sexual assaults last year soared from 19,000 to 26,000. most of those go unreported. the victims remain silent fearing the male-dominated military culture and justice system is stacked against them.

>> the next thing i remember is being on the ground in the bathroom. he was holding me down and sodomizing me. at that point, i was just -- crying and begging him to stop.

>> reporter: former marine claire rouseau told "rock center" after she was assaulted, marine commanders tried to keep her from pursuing action. her attacker was convicted in a civilian, not a military court .

>> the only thing that makes my story extraordinary is i got justice.

>> reporter: there is a bill before congress that would take sexual assault cases out of the immediate chain of command and hand them to a special prosecutor . even if that bill passes, officials here are not the least bit optimistic that the sexual assault numbers in the military will come down any time soon. brian?

>> jim miklaszewski , another bad development in this ongoing issue at the pentagon. jim, thanks.