TODAY   |  May 07, 2013

Air Force officer accused of sexual assault

Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Krusinski, who is the Air Force’s chief of sexual assault prevention, was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly drunkenly sexually assaulting a woman in a parking lot. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> new details this morning on a troubling arrest in virginia. an air force officer who ran the branch's sexual assault prevention unit now charged with sexual battery . nbc's jim mick cheklaszewski is at the pentagon.

>> reporter: this guy is supposed to help protect women of the air force against sexual assault and he himself faces charges. defense secretary hagel expressed outrage over the situation and promised swift action. despite the best efforts to curtail sexual assault , those numbers we'll show you today sexual assault in the military is still on the rise.

>> lieutenant colonel --

>> reporter: air force officer jeff kursiski in afghanistan two years ago. here's his mug shot this past weekend, scratches on the face, the result of an apparent struggle. he's accused of sexually assaulting a woman in an arlington, virginia parking lot early sunday. the police report describes him as a drunken male subject who approached a female victim and grabbed her breasts and buttocks before she fought him off and contacted police.

>> the military culture has to be changed. it has to be scrubbed of this attitude that boys will be boys

>> reporter: accusations come just as a new pentagon report shows a startling rise in assaults in the military. the numbers reveal that actual reports of sexual assaults last year rose by 4%, up to 3 p 374. even more troubling, the survey shows that section i will assaults that went unreported skyrocketed from 19,000 to 26,000.

>> we've got to see action. they are great at saying we have zero tolerance , but their actions do not support their words.

>> reporter: air force is still reeling from its worst sex scandal ever. 33 basic training instructors have been accused of sexually assaulting 63 recruits at lackland air force base in san antonio . as for the lieutenant until colonel, he's now been removed from his job as chief of the air force sexual assault prevention. savannah?

>> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, thank you.