(ARLINGTON, Va.) — A lieutenant colonel who ran the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was arrested and charged with sexual battery over the weekend in a D.C. suburb.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed to ABC News that Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, was arrested this weekend in Arlington, Va.
The Arlington County Police Department’s crime report said that shortly after midnight on Sunday “a drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks.”
“The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police,” the crime report said. “Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with sexual battery.”
Stefanek said that Krusinski was in charge of the Air Force’s five-person sexual assault prevention branch. Brig. Gen. Eden Murrie, the Air Force’s director of services, oversees the office.
“[Krusinski] was responsible for writing plans and programs that supported victims of sexual assault,” Stefanek said in a statement to ABC News. “He worked on prevention programs for sexual assault.”
Stefanek said the case was currently under investigation by local authorities and that Krusinski had been removed from his position immediately upon authorities learning of the alleged attack Monday.
Protect Our Defenders, one of the leading groups for military victims of sexual assault, said the incident was an example of “long-standing and pervasive” problems in the military.
“If these allegations are true, this is one more example on a long list of how fundamentally broken the military justice system and culture are. The idea that the head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) could be arrested for sexual assault indicates the depth of the problem. It’s outrageous,” the group said in a statement.
Some lawmakers responded strongly to news of Krusinski’s arrest.
“When I saw this it made me literally sick to my stomach,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said Monday. “How many more reasons do we need to take cases of rape and sexual assault out of the chain of command?”
Speier introduced legislation in April that would establish a Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Council and create an enhanced Sexual Assault Oversight and Response office within the military.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., called the report “extremely disturbing.”
“It is clear that the status quo regarding sexual assaults in the military is simply unacceptable,” Gillibrand said in a statement emailed to ABC News Monday. “Next week, I am going to take this issue head-on by introducing a set of common-sense reforms. We have to reform how the military handles sexual assault cases and take on the culture that perpetuates this kind of behavior.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of rules surrounding military convictions for sexual assault in March after an Air Force general decided to throw out an F-16 fighter pilot’s jury conviction for aggravated sexual assault.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Oren Liebermann, CNN
Michael Pearson, CNN
Sheena Jones, CNN