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Former President Jimmy Carter, who served in the Navy, suggested one way to address the issue of sexual assault would be to take the authority away from commanders.

“In the military the first thing you could do is to remove from the commanding officers the authority about whether a rapist will be tried or not,” Carter said in an interview Monday night on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”

“I was a submarine officer. I was qualified to command submarines. And it’s almost impossible for commanding officers to bring to justice a rapist, because it reflects adversely on his capability as a military commander if sexual abuse is taking place in his company or his battalion.”

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that he had tapped Navy Rear Adm. Margaret “Peg” Klein to serve as senior adviser for military professionalism, reporting to Hagel on matters related to military ethics, character, and leadership.


Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.