According to the commanding general of the station, an intern at Fort Sill reported on March 27 that she had been sexually assaulted.
At a press conference last week, Commanding General Ken Kamper did not specify when any of the alleged incidents took place. The individual received the victim’s lawyer and has access to all victim support services, he said. She is in advanced training, which occurs after basic training, according to Kamper.
He did not say how many personnel from a specific unit – described as a “cadre,” which provides training for soldiers – could be investigated.
“We have taken immediate action with any member of the cadre who has been appointed and may have been involved in this allegation. We have removed them from their normal duties. They have been suspended,” Kamper said Thursday.
Those who were taken out of training service are now working “outside of a trainee environment and really to protect the safety and well-being of all other soldiers,” Kamper said.
Pending the results of the criminal investigation, the next step could be criminal charges, an army official told CNN on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. It is also likely that a separate comprehensive investigation will be conducted into the alleged incident and how it could have happened.
On Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “has been kept informed of investigative efforts at Fort Sill.” Kirby said he would not advance the investigation, but said “the secretary knows the military and military officials are taking this incident seriously.”
The review was ordered by Austin in late February and follows the unveiling of a larger investigation into sexual assault and harassment in the military with the establishment of a 90-day commission just days after the President Joe Biden took office in January.
In his February memo, Austin said he wanted details on “which facilities and units are of greatest concern as well as which show promise.”
A defense official said in March that the Pentagon planned to start surveying troops to “develop a full picture of the risk at all DoD facilities.” The investigation would include troops and leaders to see how senior commanders are responding to the issues, the official said.
Last month, Biden underscored the importance of the issue, saying sexual assault in the military was “nothing less than a threat to our national security.”
“This is going to be a constant effort under my administration to end the scourge of sexual assault in the military,” he said, marking International Women’s Day at the White House.