ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army Judge Advocate General Corps is adding 15 special prosecutors to focus on sexual assault cases, marking the first time it has hired prosecutors for a specific crime, said Lt. Gen. Scott Black, U.S. Army judge advocate general.

The prosecutors will both try sexual assault cases and train the other 350 prosecutors in the JAG corps on handling such cases, Black told reporters on Monday. They will be assigned to the Army’s busiest jurisdictions, such as forts Bragg and Hood.

Until now, Army JAG Corps lawyers have been generalists, not specialists, he said.

“We train everyone to a baseline level for prosecution purposes, and that includes sexual assault cases,” he said.

The Army announced this and other moves Monday to curb sexual harassment, shortly after Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey would continue to emphasize sexual assault prevention.

Casey said at a Jan. 14 Association of the United States Army function that if this issue is left unaddressed, it will eat the Army up from the inside.

“Our sexual assault rates were double those of the other services, and I took little solace from what the personnel folks told me, which was we just report better than everyone else,” Casey said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 1,800 soldiers have been punished for sexual assault, Army Secretary Peter Geren said Monday.

The Army’s goal is not just to better investigate and prosecute sexual assault, but to also instill in victims a confidence that they will be treated with respect if they come forward, Geren said.

But former Army Sgt. Angela Peacock, who claims she was sexually assaulted in 2001, said one problem remains that allegations of sexual assault are not investigated.

Peacock, formerly of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, said she went to a sergeant first class after she was allegedly assaulted, but he did not report the incident and no one was prosecuted.

Since 2004, the Army has made a series of policy changes related to sexual assault cases, such as creating sexual assault response coordinators and unit victim advocates, and giving sexual assault victims the choice of whether they want to stay with their units, Army officials said.

Army Criminal Investigation Command is also hiring seven experts to train its agents how to investigate sexual assault cases, said Brig. Gen. Rodney Johnson, head of CID.

“Our special agents, and supervisors, will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with those highly qualified experts on our most challenging and complex cases,” Johnson said.

CID also hopes to bring on 30 investigators to specialize in sexual assault cases, but funding for the agents has not yet been approved, he said.

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