- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2012

Reports of sexual assaults in the military rose slightly in fiscal 2011, compared to the previous year, according to an annual Defense Department study.

A total of 3,192 reports of sexual assault involving service members as victims or perpetrators were filed in fiscal 2011, a 1 percent increase over the previous year, according to the study.

“Sexual assault has no place in this department,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a written statement. “It is an affront to the basic American values we defend, and to the good honor of our service members and their families.”

“Since taking this office, I’ve made it one of my top priorities to do everything we can to reduce and prevent sexual assault, to make victims of sexual assault feel secure enough to report this crime without fear of retribution or harm to their career, and to hold the perpetrators appropriately accountable,” he said.

His statement said next steps would be announced next week during consultations with Congress.

Mr. Panetta will meet Monday with members of the women in the military congressional caucus, led by Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat.