Guardian/ Australian military hit by child exploitation allegations

SHAFAQNA- Australian Associated Press: Fresh reports have emerged detailing the scope of alleged sexual offending in the military, including dozens of cases which involve allegations of child abuse images and child grooming.

Figures compiled by military police and contained in a briefing prepared in May last year for then chief of the Australian defence force, General David Hurley, show hundreds of personnel were suspected of committing sexual offences over the past few years.

The confidential documents, the Australian newspaper says, show military investigators received 102 reports of “non-assaultive sexual offences against a child” in recent years, the majority of which were dealt with by civilian authorities.

There were 21 offences against a child reported in the previous year alone, many of which were believed to have involved transmitting child abuse images via a mobile phone or the internet, as well as child grooming offences.

Other figures obtained by the News Corp Australia paper reportedly show there were 137 reports last year of alleged sexual offences committed by military personnel, which was 31 more than in 2012, and higher than the five preceding years.

The ADF said the evidence suggested the increased reporting of “unacceptable behaviour” was due to increased confidence in its commitment to dealing with the problem.

The office of the defence minister, David Johnston, has also been contacted for comment.

The ADF has been plagued by sex and abuse scandals in recent years. Ten officers and soldiers were thrown out of the army last year in the wake of the “Jedi Council” scandal which involved the military email system being used to exchange explicit images of women taken without their consent.

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