- Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Repeated sexual assaults in the military allow the culture to continue, a lawmaker said Thursday.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, New York Democrat, addressed the latest case at West Point, where an Army sergeant is charged with secretly taking pictures and video of at least a dozen women.

Mrs. Gillibrand said on NBC’s “Today” show that when sexual assault happens repeatedly, with no accountability, “it allows the culture to continue.”

Mrs. Gillibrand, who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said sexual assault should be reported outside the chain of command, directly to a military prosecutor, and victims need to know justice is possible.

The West Point case is just the latest in a series of incidents. A Pentagon report says as many as 26,000 service members may have been sexually assaulted last year.