San Mateo, CA –Congresswomen Jackie Speier (CA-14), Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to allegations that five male drill instructors at Fort Benning are under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct involving six female infantry trainees.
"The recent allegations of sexual misconduct involving five Ft. Benning Drill Instructors are outrageous and, if true, both repugnant and indefensible. Military leadership has been promising progress for years, but this incident appears to be yet another example that undermines those claims. If it is confirmed that these drill instructors violated their own trainees, they must be punished to the fullest extent possible. This potentially has the makings of the Lackland Air Force Basic Training scandal all over again. If these claims are substantiated, this would indicate the military has learned nothing in the last six years,” Rep. Speier said. “Army leadership must also investigate the officers charged with overseeing these instructors to determine how such a failure of leadership occurred, a failure that – if true – extends well beyond the five accused drill instructors. The only way to prevent such incidents is severe and immediate punishment to show that preying on trainees is grossly unacceptable."
The alleged misconduct ranges from consensual sexual relationships to sexual harassment and assault, and includes the nonconsensual sharing of intimate images, all issues which the congresswoman has worked to address in her role on the Armed Services Committee as well as her work with the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence.