FORT BENNING, Ga. — A criminal investigation is underway at Fort Benning, following allegations of sexual assault and misconduct involving drill sergeants and female trainees.
Representatives with Fort Benning confirmed to the media Wednesday, a female trainee claims she was sexually assaulted by a drill sergeant. After further investigation, more reports of sexual misconduct involving other drill sergeants started to surface.
The investigation is now being conducted by the Maneuver Center of Excellence in conjunction with the US Army Criminal Investigation Command.
News 3 contacted a Fort Benning drill sergeant, who wishes to remain anonymous, and confirms the incident happened at the Sand Hill Training Area. He says there are around 200 drill sergeants on post, and as many as five are now on suspension as a result of the allegations.
A News 3 reporter asked the anonymous drill sergeant whether reports like the one announced Wednesday are typical for Sand Hill, where infantry soldiers train.
“Physical abuse, verbal abuse and sexual abuse whether consent is given or not is a problem with drill sergeants. Most of the issues come from Sand Hill,” he says.
Bob Poydasheff, a former Columbus Mayor, is also weighing in on the investigation. Poydasheff is a News 3 Political Analyst with more than 30 years of military experience. He describes how investigations like this one usually play out.
“If in fact you were told that the criminal investigation division is already looking in to it then apparently there may be criminal charges,” says Poydasheff.
He says after that, all parties should start to undergo questioning. Poydasheff says he expects the entire process will not exceed 60 days.