TODAY

TODAY   |  May 15, 2013

Ft. Hood sergeant accused of assault, prostitution

Investigators in Fort Hood, Texas, are looking into allegations that an Army sergeant sexually assaulted three female soldiers and forced one into prostitution. This is only the latest in a string of military sexual assault scandals that has lawmakers demanding answers. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>> what a disturbing story at the top. the defense department is ordering all service members involved in sexual assault prevention programs to be rescreened and retrained in the wake of those back-to-back assault cases.

>> let us get right to nbc's jim miklaszewski at the pentagon this morning. mick, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. here we go again. for the second time in two weeks an american serviceman who is supposed to be protecting women against sexual assault is accused of sexual assault . lawmakers up on capitol hill are already calling these latest allegations disgusting and sickening. now the name of this army sergeant hasn't been released because he hasn't been formally charged yet. if these accusations are true, this case appears to be especially heinous. this latest military sex scandal comes out of ft. hood, texas. sources tell nbc news army investigators are looking into allegations that an army sergeant sexual assaulted a female soldier under his command, then forced her into prostitution, and allegedly sexually assaulted two others. it is the second such case this month. just last week, the officer in charge of sexual assault prevention for the entire air force was arrested and charged with sexual battery against a woman in a virginia parking lot. the police report described h him as a drunken male suspect who approached a woman, grabbed her breasts and buttocks before she fought him off. defense secretary chuck hagel was furious.

>> we are all outraged and disgusted over these very troubling allegations.

>> reporter: even more troubling, hagel released the pentagon's latest report which shows a disturbing increase in sexual assaults in the military. there were 3,374 sexual assaults last year, a 6% rise. assaults that went unreported skyrocketed from 19 to 26,000. the fed secretary hagel promises swift justice in this case and that all of the sexual assault leaders will be rescreened to make sure they are up to the job. but lawmakers are already arguing up on capitol hill that, look, the entire military culture and justice system that tends to make some of these attackers believe they can get away with it must change. savannah?

>> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, thank you so much.