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WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a dozen U.S. veterans who say they were raped or assaulted by comrades filed a class-action suit in federal court Tuesday attempting to force the Pentagon to change how it handles such cases.
The current and former service members — 15 women and two men — describe circumstances in which servicemen allegedly got away with rape and other sexual abuse while their victims were ordered to continue to serve with them.
The suit names Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld. The plaintiffs say individual commanders have too much say in how allegations are handled and that they want reforms in the system.
The alleged attackers in the lawsuit include an Army criminal investigator and an Army National Guard commander. The abuse alleged ranges from obscene verbal abuse to gang rape.
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