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Panetta: Sexual Assault Has No Place in Defense Department

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2012 – Sexual assault has no place in the Defense Department, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today, calling it “an affront to the basic American values we defend, and it is a stain on the good honor of the great majority of our troops and their families.”

In a news conference at the Pentagon, Panetta emphasized the department’s efforts to prevent sexual assault and to help its victims when instances occur.

“As leaders of this department, we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of our people,” Panetta said. “These women and these men who are willing to fight and die to protect and serve our country – they deserve better protection. Their families and dependents also sacrifice and serve. And so for this reason, we must spare no effort to protect them against this heinous crime. … One sexual assault is one too many.”

More coverage to follow.


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Leon E. Panetta

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