Military sex assault reports edge up

Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press

Washington — U.S. defense officials say the number of sexual assaults reported by the military edged up in 2016.

Nearly 60 percent of the victims said they faced some type of negative reaction or retaliation as a result of their complaint.

But the defense officials say that an anonymous survey conducted last year shows some progress, as fewer than 15,000 service members said they were victims of unwanted sexual contact. That is 4,000 fewer than in a 2014 survey.

Sexual assault is a highly under-reported crime, so the Pentagon uses anonymous surveys to track the problem.

The new figures are coming out Monday. Several defense officials spoke about the report on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss it publicly ahead of time.