A third military sexual assault prevention official was removed from his position Thursday after an Army lieutenant colonel was arrested in a domestic dispute, according to officials at Fort Campbell, Ky., the officer’s home station.
Lt. Col. Darin Haas, the Fort Campbell Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention/Equal Opportunity program manager, turned himself in to police Wednesday on charges of violating an order of protection and stalking.
Haas is involved in a “contentious divorce” with his ex-wife, and both have mutual orders of protection against one another, according to a statement released by Fort Campbell. Army officials immediately removed Haas from his position as a sexual assault prevention official upon learning of the arrest, said Master Sgt. Pete Mayes, a Fort Campbell spokesman.
The Fort Campbell officer is the third sexual assault prevention official to be removed from his job since May 5, when the Air Force branch chief for the service’s Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office was arrested after allegedly groping a woman near a strip club a mile from the Pentagon.
The Army is also investigating Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, coordinator of a sexual assault prevention program at Fort Hood, Texas, for sexual assault and allegations he forced at least one woman into a prostitution ring. He was immediately removed from his job.
The high-profile firings, investigations and arrests have occurred the same month the Pentagon published a report that estimated that 26,000 servicemembers were sexually assaulted in 2012. President Obama called Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey as well as the service secretaries, chiefs and enlisted advisors to a meeting at the White House Thursday to discuss sexual assault.
Dempsey called the growing number of sexual assaults a “crisis.” Obama called sexual assault a threat to national security on Thursday.
“So not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make and has made the military less effective than it can be,” Obama said after the meeting with the military’s top leaders.
Fort Campbell officials said Haas was close to retirement. His replacement will start the job immediately.
Haas’ ex-wife reported to police that Haas had repeatedly contacted her despite the protective order, Clarksville Police Sgt. Chuck Gill told the Associated Press. Haas was held the required 12 hours and then released.
The Clarksville Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office have started an investigation on Haas “to determine whether or not he violated the actual provisions of the Order of Protection that applies to him,” Mayes said in a statement.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.