Suggested reforms are under way, APG officials say Soldiers call sex scandal 'old news,' want to move on

September 12, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

It was business as usual yesterday at Aberdeen Proving Ground, ground zero for the Army's sexual misconduct scandal.

Officials, reacting to an Army report on sexual misconduct at the base's Ordnance Center and School, said they have already implemented some of the recommended reforms. Soldiers said they just wanted to put the controversy behind them.

Many of the soldiers were reluctant to discuss the two-volume report or reprimands handed down to officers, including Maj. Gen. Robert Shadley, former commander of the training center. They called the scandal, which involved rape and other sexual misconduct by Army trainers, "old news."

But Airman Matthew Page of Pasadena said soldiers had more confidence in commanders since the scandal surfaced.

"The issue of sexual harassment has been taken to a higher level," Page said as he stood in the rain outside the post exchange. "It's zero tolerance now. I think the Army has learned a valuable lesson from all of this."

Ed Starnes, spokesman for the Ordnance Center and School, said Aberdeen had already implemented many reforms outlined in the report, including assigning a chaplain to each battalion and creating lieutenant positions.

The school also created the position of "director of instruction" last October to allow the commander to spend more time with soldiers and less time on administrative duties, Starnes said.

"It frees the commander up to do more soldier things," he said. "The commander doesn't have to worry about instruction as much."

Starnes said school officials had also considered what, if anything, could be done to screen drill sergeants more thoroughly.

Shadley decided to interview former students partly to determine where problems might have occurred, Starnes said.

Pub Date: 9/12/97

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