Another sex scandal for Defence
The Australian military is facing another sex scandal just weeks after it handed down wide-ranging reviews into Defence culture, including sexual abuse and the treatment of women.
A 23-year-old male soldier has been arrested and charged with raping a 21-year-old female civilian. He is due in the ACT Magistrates Court tomorrow.
ACT Police said they arrested the man after responding to a report of a sexual assault at Canberra's Royal Military College, Duntroon early yesterday.
Police said the 21-year-old alleged victim contacted them at 2am to report that a man known to her had entered her house and sexually assaulted her before fleeing.
Police later located a man in the grounds of Duntroon with the help of military police and charged him with two counts of sexual sexual intercourse without consent.
A Defence spokesman confirmed that a member of the Australian military had been charged with the assault.
"The Australian Defence Force Investigative Service is assisting the Australian Federal Police in their investigation," he said yesterday. "Defence is providing welfare support to the member."
The spokesman said it would not be appropriate for Defence to make further comment or speculate on the matter as it was before a civilian court.
The charges come in the wake of the Australian Defence Force Academy "Skype scandal" last year, in which an 18 year-old cadet alleged she had been filmed and broadcast over Skype without her knowledge, during a consensual sexual encounter.
In response to the incident, Defence conducted a review of the Skype incident as well as broader reviews into Defence culture, which resulted in a flood of claims of abuse.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith released the findings of the reviews last month.
The initial DLA Piper review into allegations of abuse – some of which stretch back 60 years – found 775 fell within the terms of reference. Mr Smith said the overwhelming majority were plausible.
Yesterday, Mr Smith announced that the full DLA Piper report on the allegations was running late. The Defence Minister was initially due to receive the report at the end of March; it is now expected mid-April.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick's general review into women in Defence will be handed down later this year.
Last month, the Chief of the Defence Force, David Hurley, said Defence was committed to tackling its cultural challenges "at their source".
"There are serious issues that we must address," he said.