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Army Sex Scandal Hot Line Drawing Calls From All Four Military Branches

November 13, 1996

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (AP) _ The Army sex abuse hot line set up to field complaints about instructors and drill sergeants at the Aberdeen Proving Ground has drawn calls about sexual harassment and abuse in all four branches of the service, Army officials said Tuesday.

The calls have run the gamut from verbal sexual abuse to rape, said John Yaquiant, a spokesman for Aberdeen Proving Ground.

A hot line operator who refused to give his name said calls have come from ``all four services and the National Guard, involving all sorts of stuff.″

``There are complaints of sexual harassment, assaults, rapes, same-sex accusations,″ he said.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the hot line had received 2,474 calls, of which 235 had been referred to the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. Of those, 71 involved the Aberdeen Proving Ground and 164 involved other military installations and personnel.

The rest of the calls had to do with administrative requests, nonsexual complaints and crank calls. The Army refused to provide details about the complaints that were referred for investigation.

Despite the number of calls, a decision has not been made on whether to make the hot line permanent, or expand it, Yaquiant said.

Lt. Col. Nancy Burt, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the Defense Department does not operate a hot line, but individual services may.

The Navy operates a discrimination and sexual harassment hot line which fields calls for the Navy and the Marines, while the Air Force runs one to report fraud, waste and abuse, but not one for sex abuse.

Both services encourage personnel to go through the chain of command to report sex abuse allegations.

The Army last week charged four drill instructors and a captain at Aberdeen with raping, sexually harassing or otherwise having improper relationships with at least a dozen young women recruits. The men were suspended along with 15 other instructors.

Tuesday, a male drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri pleaded guilty to having sex with three female soldiers. Two other male officers face charges of improperly touching female trainees, and seven drill sergeants were suspended as the Army investigates.

The Army said the two cases are unrelated.

___

The Army’s toll-free hot line is 1-800-903-4241.

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