By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - The Air Force, which has been rocked by a sexual abuse scandal at its major training base, suffered another embarrassment Monday with the revelation that its chief sexual assault prevention officer was arrested over the weekend for allegedly groping a woman.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was arrested and charged with sexual battery Sunday after he allegedly grabbed the woman's breasts and buttocks. When he attempted to grope her again, she fought him off and called police, according to the police report. The victim did not know Krusinski, said Dustin Sternbeck, an Arlington County Police spokesman.
Krusinski is the chief of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch at the Pentagon.
Krusinski has been removed from his job while his case is being investigated, said Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman. He took the post in February.
Krusinski could not be reached for comment Monday.
Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, has said the service has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault.
"Sexual assault has no place in our Air Force," Welsh said. "We live in a culture of respect."
The Air Force has been dealing with other sex abuse cases. At its entry-level training facility at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, more than 30 instructors were accused sexually abusing trainees.
This year, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin overturned a military court's sexual assault conviction of fight pilot Lt. Col. James Wilkerson because Franklin said he found the accused officer and his wife more credible than the alleged victim. Franklin's decision outraged members of Congress.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who has been critical of the Air Force response to sexual assault, said Monday she was appalled by the latest allegations.
"When I saw this, it made me literally sick to my stomach," Speier told USA TODAY. "How many more reasons do we need to take cases of rape and sexual assault out of the chain of command?"
Welsh and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley are scheduled to testify this morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee and will likely be asked about the Krusinski incident.