Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski and his lawyer, Sheryl Shane, before Judge Richard McCue in Arlington District Court.
A woman gave emotional testimony Tuesday that an Air Force officer who once led the branch's sex-assault response team groped her outside a Crystal City bar, then asked if she liked it.
A misdemeanor assault trial began Tuesday in Arlington for 42-year-old Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who pleaded not guilty. He was initially charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, but Arlington County prosecutors subsequently dropped that charge and substituted a generic assault-and-battery charge. The new charge was more appropriate given the standard of proof required for a sexual battery conviction in Virginia, Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos said.
The woman testified that Krusinski grabbed her breast and buttocks on May 5, and she responded by repeatedly punching him.
The Air Force removed Krusinski from his Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit post after his arrest.
Krusinski's arrest underscored the urgent problem of sexual assault in the military. An annual report released by the Pentagon days after Krusinski's arrest showed an alarming rise in the number of people anonymously saying they have been the victim of unreported assaults, NBC News reported.
The report said that of the 1.4 million active duty personnel, 6.1 percent of active duty women — or 12,100 — say they experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, a sharp increase over the 8,600 who said that in 2010. For men, the number increased from 10,700 to 13,900. A majority of the offenders were military members or Defense Department civilians or contractors, the report said.
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