Air Force sex-assault chief arrested on sexual battery charges
The man leading a U.S. Air Force program responsible for preventing sexual assault has been arrested on suspicion of drunkenly groping a woman in an Arlington, Va., parking lot, officials said Monday.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41 -- shown with several apparent cuts on his face in a police booking photo -- was charged with sexual battery. He has been removed from his position overseeing the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program pending the outcome of the investigation, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told the Los Angeles Times.
“On May 5 at 12:35 a.m., a drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks,” said a crime report from the Arlington County Police Department. “The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police.”
The incident happened near a stretch of restaurants and bars just west of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, police said.
Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said that the woman apparently didn’t know Krusinski and that it was unclear where the cuts on his face came from.
Krusinski was released on $5,000 bond.
The Air Force’s Stefanek said military officials knew of no prior disciplinary problems or criminal conduct involving Krusinski, who was responsible for overseeing the office intended to help “educate people about the sexual assault programs in the Air Force.”
Krusinski had held his position since February 2013 and reported to Brig. Gen. Eden J. Murrie, who overees the overall sexual assault program, which was created in 2005.
“He was removed from his position today as soon as we were made aware of the charges pending the outcome of the investigation,” Stefanek said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “expressed outrage and disgust over the troubling allegations” in a call with Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. Hagel “emphasized that this matter will be dealt with swiftly and decisively.”
The charges are an embarrassment for Hagel, who has promised to crack down on sexual assault in the military.
According to the Air Force’s website, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program hopes “to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through awareness and prevention training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability. The Air Force promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.”
The arrest was first reported by ARLnow.com. Air Force officials confirmed Krusinski’s identity to The Times.
The military has struggled with sex abuse scandals for decades. In 2012, more than 30 male Air Force boot camp instructors were accused of sexually harassing, abusing and having sex with at least 59 recruits at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. This year, two three-star Air Force generals have also fallen under criticism for pardoning sex offenders in their ranks.
[Updated, 7:47 p.m. May 6: This post has been updated to include comment from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.]
David S. Cloud in Washington contributed to this report.
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