FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2013
Contact: Brian Purchia, , firstname.lastname@example.org
STATEMENT FROM PROTECT OUR DEFENDERS PRESIDENT NANCY PARRISH ON LACKLAND RECRUITER FACING MULTIPLE SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES
Washington DC – Today, the Air Force announced that a recruiter from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas is accused of having unprofessional relationships with 18 Air Force applicants and is facing multiple sexual assault charges. Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez will have an evidentiary hearing Tuesday in San Antonio. Air Force officials say the allegations against Rodriquez date back to 2009. They call his case one of the worst out of Lackland’s recruiting services and “perhaps ever.” Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish released the following statement.
“2012 brought persistent and unprecedented public attention to the sexual abuse sandal at Lackland Air Force Base and the epidemic of sexual assaults in our military. In response to each wave of publicity, the Pentagon churned out a list of supposedly new, but, in fact, mostly recycled or ineffective reforms or policies sometimes placing the burden on the victim, such as the Wingman or battle buddy policy.
The sexual abuse allegations against Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez highlight once again that fundamental changes are needed to fix the system. This is yet another horrible example of the ‘silent epidemic’ — if the military keeps looking they’ll find thousands more. It’s heartening that victims and their parents are finding the courage to come forward. Too many still do not.
We have heard many stories of abuses by recruiters preying on young, impressionable civilians who would like to serve their country and are vulnerable to the influence of what they see as somebody in a position of authority who might be able to help them. This is another example of abuse of that authority — one more example of why we need fundamental reform.
It’s good that the military is bringing cases like this to light – it’s good the press is paying attention and bringing these scandals to the public’s attention, it’s this sort of coverage that will build the support for fundamental reform.
This crisis cannot be incrementally addressed. It’s clear that the command structure, the culture, recruiting, victim care, the investigation and adjudication processes are in need of a major overhaul. To date the military has refused to hold leadership accountable and has shown itself incapable of addressing this crisis.
Words matter, but only if they are followed with fundamental legislative reform and culture changing action. 2013 must be a year of change. House Armed Services Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon has promised that he will hold an open hearing on the sexual abuse scandal at Lackland. It’s time to get started.”
Read San Antonio Express-News’ “AF recruiter accused in sex scandal”
Read the Air Force Times’ “Lackland recruiter faces rape charge at Article 32”
About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is a human rights organization. We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at www.protectourdefenders.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ProtectOur
Protect Our Defenders supports Attorney Susan Burke, Burke PLLC to advance lawsuits filed against the DoD and service academies for repeatedly ignoring rape, sexual assault and harassment, failing to prosecute perpetrators and retaliating against the victim.