Several "young, cash-strapped female privates" from Ft. Hood testified this week that they were pressured to prostitute themselves to superiors—and that the senior soldier who pressed them was his unit's sexual assault prevention officer.
The revelations came in the military trial of Master Sgt. Brad Grimes, who was found guilty late Tuesday on two charges after meeting with one of the women at a La Quinta Inn for paid sex. The 17-year Army veteran, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was demoted and given a letter of reprimanded. He will be permitted to remain in the service.
Amazingly, no charges have been filed against the alleged mastermind of the ring, Sgt. First Class Gregory McQueen, who continues to serve on active duty but was recently stripped of his responsibilities as a battalion sex-assault prevention officer on the Texas base.
The female soldiers, who were relatively new to the service and have not been charged with any crimes, testified that they were recruited into prostitution by McQueen. One private alleged that McQueen made "abusive sexual contact" with her during an "interview" to be in the ring, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
One reason McQueen hasn't been arrested is because Grimes wouldn't testify against him—what the New Republic called "the buddy-buddy refusal to report on a predatory peer," part of "the military's corrosive gender culture."
For his part, Grimes attempted to evade by punishment by testifying that he never had sex with the soldier he'd gone to see at the La Quinta. "He was tempted, and it's not a crime to be tempted," Grimes' civilian lawyer said. He added: "At the end of the day, Master Sgt. Grimes chose to do the right thing and not have sex with that young lady."
The young lady, however, disagreed: She said Grimes indeed had sex with her, and paid her $100.