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Sergeant at 2nd Army Base Admits to Sex With Recruits

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Army announced Tuesday that a male drill sergeant at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., had pleaded guilty to having sex with three female soldiers and that it has filed charges against two other sergeants at the training school for Army engineers.

The service warned that more such cases may be coming.

In a statement issued here, Army officials said that the alleged incidents appeared to be unrelated to each other or to the string of sex crimes reported last week at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, which operates a similar school for the artillery.

Unlike the situation at Aberdeen, none of the incidents at Ft. Leonard Wood includes rape or forcible sodomy. They involve lesser charges, ranging from having consensual sex with trainees to improperly touching female recruits.

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Nevertheless, the disclosures bolster concern among some analysts that sexual harassment in the Army may be more widespread than had been thought. Authorities at Ft. Leonard Wood said that they are investigating other allegations as well, suggesting that charges would be filed soon.

At his court-martial Tuesday, Staff Sgt. Loren B. Taylor, a drill instructor with the 1st Battalion of the 48th Infantry Regiment at Ft. Leonard Wood, pleaded guilty to failing to obey a general regulation by having consensual sex with three female recruits and trying to have sex with another. He also admitted having improper contact with a fifth woman recruit.

As part of Taylor’s plea, the Army dropped charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, for allegedly offering a potential female witness $500 to change her sworn statement. He is scheduled to be sentenced today.

The two other accused soldiers are Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Fore, also a drill instructor, and Sgt. George W. Blackley Jr. Both are charged with engaging in an indecent act with a female soldier and offensively touching trainees. Blackley serves in the office of the base adjutant general.

Officials at Ft. Leonard Wood said that 22 female soldiers were involved in incidents in which the three men were charged but declined to identify them. Under Army regulations, the names of alleged victims are kept confidential.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis J. Reimer has vowed to intensify efforts to reduce the incidence of sexual misconduct and harassment in Army ranks. Reimer told reporters last week that sexual harassment had “no place in today’s Army--or tomorrow’s.”

Army officials said that the service is particularly upset that those charged with the offenses are leaders with authority over the recruits who were allegedly victimized. Those charged in the Aberdeen case included four sergeants and a captain.

Military sociologists have insisted that, despite the recent disclosures of apparent wrongdoing, such cases are not widespread in the Army.

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Clinton administration officials said that Army leaders are considering asking the service’s inspector general to look into whether the problem is systemic. They said that a decision could come as early as this week.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Army Investigations

A snapshot of the pending investigations at two Army training facilities:

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Ft. LEONARD WOOD

* Section: Training facility. Combat engineering

* Probe Start: September

* Accused: Three noncommissioned officers. One is a drill sergeant.

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* Charges: Ranging from consensual intercourse to indecent assault.

* Suspended: None, but investigation is continuing.

* Average age of alleged victim: 21

* Number of victims: Unknown, but all were basic trainees.

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****

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND

* Section: Training facility. Mechanics and repair.

* Probe Start: September

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* Accused: Five. One Captain, and two staff sergeant. The two other have not been publicly identified.

* Charges: Range from rape, attempt rape, forcible sodomy, fraternization, adultery, threating violence and conduct unbecoming.

* Suspended: 15, pending further investigation.

* Average age of alleged victim: 21

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* Number of victims: 19 women have come forward to say they were victims of sexual harassment or abuse.

Source: Times Staff, Wires, Army Documents

Researched by D’JAMILA SALEM-FITZGERALD / Los Angeles Times


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