Air Force Academy Airman Charged with Sex Crime

An airman at the U.S. Air Force Academy faces charges of sexually abusing a female service member, the school announced.

Senior Airman Aaron C. Stubbs, whose age was not given, has been charged with aggravated sexual contact and abusive sexual contact against a female enlisted airman, according to a statement issued today.

Both counts, known in military parlance as "specifications," violate Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a section of the military's criminal code that deals with rape and sexual assault.

Stubbs, assigned to the 10th Security Forces Squadron, will face a general court-martial on Aug. 6 at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to the release. A court-martial is similar to a criminal trial in civilian court.

Lawmakers have called for removing an officer's ability to oversee courts-martial after a spate of military sexual assault scandals.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, then the chief of the Air Force's sexual assault prevention and response branch, was arrested in May and charged with sexual battery after allegedly groping a woman outside a strip club near the Pentagon. The service hired a woman, Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, who investigated the abuse of female recruits by trainers at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to serve in the post.

Earlier in the year, Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, ignited a firestorm when he chose to overturn the sexual assault conviction of Lt. Col. James Wilkerson III, a fellow fighter pilot who was accused of fondling the victim as she slept in his guest bedroom.

An estimated 26,000 active-duty troops had unwanted sexual contact in fiscal 2012, up from about 19,300 in 2010, according to a report the Pentagon released earlier this year. By comparison, 3,374 troops reported sexual assaults last year, an increase of 5.7 percent from the previous year, according to the report.

Advocates say the discrepancy in the figures shows the degree to which victims are reluctant to come forward.

"A victim doesn't have to go to the commander," Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said when asked why military leadership opposes legislation introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y., to remove the chain of command from the prosecution of sexual assaults. There are "other places where a victim can go," he said yesterday in an interview yesterday with ABC's "This Week."

The Defense Department is considering wider adoption of an Air Force program that provides special counsel to victims of sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact, Dempsey said.

The White House has nominated a female executive at the defense contractor SAIC Inc. and a former assistant secretary of defense to be the next Air Force secretary.

President Barack Obama last week announced the nomination of Deborah Lee James, an executive at the defense contractor SAIC Inc. and a former assistant secretary of defense, to be the next Air Force secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate, James will be the second woman to hold the service's top job.

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