The Army promoted Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr. as director of program analysis and evaluation for an Army deputy chief of staff while he had been previously suspended and rebuked for mishandling sexual assault accusations against a colonel.
The Washington Post broke the story last week after the Army released Harrison’s investigative report six months after The Post requested it.
According to The Post, “A colonel on (Harrison’s) staff had been accused of having an affair with a subordinate, of drunken and inappropriate behavior with other women at a military club and lastly, of sexual assault.”
As a response to these accusations, Harrison violated Army policy by waiting months to report the accusations. He also showed the colonel mercy with lenient punishment, the Army said in a report obtained by The Post.
An explanation for his actions was that Harrison had known the accused colonel for over two decades and did not believe he was capable of such conduct.
The Army suspended Harrison in June and rebuked him in August.
Harrison announced his retirement after the Army released a copy of his investigation. His lawyer said there is no correlation between the events.
This case is only one of many sexual allegations that have been overlooked by the Army.
If the United States wants to stop sexual abuse within the military, change and regulation should start within the military first.
All military officials need to stop covering their colleagues’ actions regardless of who the abuser is.
By promoting Harrison to a position in the Pentagon, the government shows the military that perpetrators of sexual abuse and enablers, will not receive serious punishment – they have a chance to retain their positions.
According to the Department of Defense, about 19,300 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2010 and only 13.5 percent of victims reported it. The same report stated that out of the 19,300 assaults, 8,600 of the victims were women.
All military branches should follow through with a zero tolerance policy which would help clean out the black sheep in uniform.
It is unacceptable that military members who are supposed to be held at the highest honor of respect continue to wear the uniform and serve our country when they have committed atrocious acts. Sexual abuse in the military is a stain in the United States.