(FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.) — An Army lieutenant colonel in charge of the sexual-assault prevention office at Fort Campbell, Ky., has been removed from his job after his arrest for allegations that he violated a protection order filed by his former wife.
It is the third high-profile incident in 10 days involving alleged misconduct by a military official charged with preventing sexual assaults.
A statement by the Fort Campbell Public Affairs Office confirmed that Lt. Col. Darin Haas was immediately removed from his position in charge of the post’s Fort Campbell Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention/Equal Opportunity office.
Haas’s removal was prompted by an investigation by the Clarksville Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office into alleged violations of a protection order requested by his former wife.
“From our understanding, Lt. Col. Haas is in a conflict with his ex-wife based on a contentious divorce, and both have mutual orders of protection against each other. The ongoing investigation is to determine whether or not he violated the actual provisions of the Order of Protection that applies to him,” Fort Campbell Public Affairs Office said in the statement.
Haas was to retire soon and his replacement will assume his duties immediately, the statement said. A telephone listing for Haas could not immediately be found.
“Because the investigation is being conducted by a civilian law enforcement agency, Fort Campbell is not the lead investigative agency for this case and will await the results of civilian court proceedings before taking action,” the statement read.
The development came just hours after President Obama met at the White House with top Pentagon officials to discuss sexual assault in the military. Present for the meeting were Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the service secretaries and the senior enlisted advisers for each service.
Obama said there is “no silver bullet” to solving sexual assaults in the military, but vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in order to fix the problem.
The president said the senior military members he’d met with were upset by what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey has recently labeled “a crisis.”
“They’re angry about it, and I heard directly from all of them that they’re ashamed by some of what’s happened,” Obama said.
Hagel Tuesday ordered the immediate retraining, recredentialing and rescreening of all sexual-assault prevention and response personnel and military recruiters after two high-profile incidents that sparked outrage on Capitol Hill.
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Thursday that would take the prosecution of sexual assaults in the military out of the chain of command and place it under the jurisdiction of military prosecutors. It would also prevent military commanders from handling the cases of their subordinates.
“The issue of sexual violence is not new. It has been allowed to go in the shadows for far too long,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the bill’s sponsor, said in a news conference Thursday. “Enough is enough. It’s time to change this system that has been held over since George Washington that is simply not working today for the men and women who are serving.”
Survivors of sexual assault in the military have long advocated for such action because they believe the system prevents some from reporting their assaults out of fear of retaliation.
“When any single victim of sexual assault is forced to salute her attacker, clearly our system is broken,” Gillibrand said.
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