TODAY   |  May 23, 2013

West Point sgt. accused of hiding camera in showers

Defense officials say Army sergeant Michael McClendon is accused of using a hidden camera to secretly obtain video of female cadets in locker rooms. He has been relieved of duty and charged on four counts. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> with yet another sex scandal this morning. the latest case, an army sergeant accused of secretly videotaping female cadets at west pointe . mick, good morning.

>> good morning, matt. you know, these military sexual assault and misconduct cases seem to be piling up. this time, at least 12 female cadets were the victims. allegedly videotaped covertly by a west point staff member they should have been able to trust. it's the military's most prestigious academy. defense officials say army sergeant first class michael mcclendon is accused of using a hidden camera to secretly videotape female cadets in locker rooms and showers. mcclendon has been relieved of duty and charged on four counts. as a west point staffer, he was responsible for the health and welfare of the very cadets he'd allegedly targeted. earlier this month, lieutenant colonel jeff krisynski was himself charged with sexual battery . and at ft. hood, texas, the army is investigating accusations that a sergeant first class there sexually assaulted a woman. he too was in charge of sexual assault prevention.

>> the very person that is supposed to be there to protect you in the military is found to be abusing women. how can any woman in the military say that i have a safe place to turn?

>> reporter: there were 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year. but fewer than 4,000 were reported. many victims fear the military justice system is stacked against them. joint chiefs chairman martin dempsey shares that concern.

>> if a perpetrator shows up with a rack of ribbons and has four deployments and a purple heart , there's certainly the risk that we might be a little too forgiving of that particular crime.

>> in fact, the accused in this case is a decorated combat veteran who earned bronze star in the war in iraq . many lawmakers on capitol hill argue, however, the only way to really crack down on sexual assault in the military is to dramatically change the military justice system. and they're pushing for legislation to do just that.