The latest sex crime scandal for the military involves recruiters, the Washington Post reports in a detailed look at some of the cases of sexual assault and rape found in its ranks recently. One example: An Air Force recruiter is charged with raping or committing other crimes over three years involving 18 young women he was attempting to enlist in Texas. It's difficult to get a handle on how widespread the problem is, since there is no consistent standard for tracking incidents, but the Army—which has the most recruiters of any branch of the military—has substantiated 327 sexual misconduct cases over the past five years.
The misconduct in those cases, however, could be fairly minor (being around a recruit of the opposite sex alone, rather than with another recruiter, for example). In the Navy, 24 recruiters have been accused of sexual assault since 2010; in the Air Force, an average of four recruiters per year have been court-martialed for sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships since 2008, while others were disciplined less severely. Leaders of the armed services insist just a small percentage of recruiters have been involved in sexual misconduct, but "anecdotally, we absolutely hear that this is a problem," says the executive director of the Service Women's Action Network advocacy group. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week called sexual abuse by recruiters "intolerable," and announced initiatives to prevent it. (Read more military recruiters stories.)