From Media Mouse, which we want to thank for often linking to this site:
An Army recruiter plead guilty on Friday in Bessemer, Michigan to offering to help a 16-year old girl get into the Army in exchange for oral sex. 30-year old Army Sgt. Robert W. Scott was sentenced to one year in jail, placed on probation for five years, fined $3,020, and required to register as a sex offender.
The judge in the case said that he was not happy with the sentencing constraints under Michigan law according to the Ironwood Daily Globe. Circuit Court judge Roy Gotham said he would have preferred to send Scott to prison for over a year but was unable to do so under the law. Gotham described the incident as “a huge betrayal of trust – an extraordinary abuse of authority. You took advantage of someone who wanted to enter the service.” He went on to say “A 16-year-old is entitled to a great deal of protection by our society and when a 30-year-old man accosts a 16-year-old for sex by virtue of his authority over her, we have an extremely serious problem,” stating that this is an incredibly serious crime and that crimes such as this frequently have lifelong consequences for the victim.
While the story was picked up by the Associated Press wire and published in media outlets around the United States, the Associated Press report failed to put this incident into the context of what is a larger problem in the military. Last year, a study by the Associated Press found that more than 100 women were sexually harassed by recruiters when they expressed interest in joining the military. That study described recruiters who raped high school age recruits in recruiting centers or sexually assaulted them in government vehicles. Moreover, according the Associated Press study found that most incidents of sexual harassment or abuse by recruiters are handled with administrative punishments, jail time as was given in this case is quite rare. The Associated Press reported that more than 80 military recruiters had been disciplined in the year before the study was published.
Media reports and government studies have also found widespread abuses among recruiters ranging from falsifying paperwork to sexual harassment. A study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last year found that there was a 50% increase in recruiter abuses from 2004 to 2005. At the same time, numerous media reports have documented recruiters coaching recruits on how to pass drug tests, enlisting unqualified recruits, and claiming that the Iraq War was over.
The GAO report blamed similar abuses on the difficulty that recruiters are having in meeting their quotas due to the ongoing war in Iraq.