Washington, DC – The Pentagon has fired 60 troops working as sexual assault counselors, recruiters or drill instructors after investigators found they had committed violations ranging from alcohol-related offenses to child abuse and sexual assault.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the review after a Pentagon report in May estimated 26,000 troops had been sexually assaulted in 2012, a 35% increase since 2010, according to USAToday.
Records of at least 35,000 troops have been screened or are under review, according to the services.
Each of the services appears to have interpreted Hagel’s directive differently. The Marines screened recruiters, for example, against a public database, while the Army considered criminal records for sexual assault, child abuse and alcohol-related offenses.
The Army has suspended 55 soldiers, according to figures compiled through mid-July, said George Wright, an Army spokesman. In all, it is looking at 20,000 recruiters, sexual-assault counselors and drill instructors and expects to have completed its screening by Oct. 1. More suspensions could occur as the review continues.
It is unclear whether the suspended soldiers have been discharged, Wright said, or if they can be reassigned to other units.