MILITARY

Defense Department data: Military dependents are sexually abused hundreds of times a year

This diagram taken from U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service report, is of a drawing by Cpl. Aaron C. Masa during his interrogation showing the floor plan of the home, using X’s and O’s to show where the abuse occurred. A military judge convicted Masa of sexual abuse of a child and production of child pornography, according to court records and other documents detailing the case. Under the terms of a pretrial agreement, he agreed to plead guilty and received 30 years in prison. (U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service via AP)

This diagram taken from U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service report, is of a drawing by Cpl. Aaron C. Masa during his interrogation showing the floor plan of the home, using X’s and O’s to show where the abuse occurred. A military judge convicted Masa of sexual abuse of a child and production of child pornography, according to court records and other documents detailing the case. Under the terms of a pretrial agreement, he agreed to plead guilty and received 30 years in prison. (U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Defense Department data show the children of service members are sexually assaulted hundreds of times each year.

The abuse of military dependents is committed most often by male enlisted troops, according to the data provided exclusively to The Associated Press. More than 61 percent of the cases involved parents sexually abusing their children.

The figures offer greater insight into the sexual abuse of children committed by service members, a problem of uncertain scale due to a lack of transparency in the military's legal proceedings. With more than 1 million military dependents, the number of cases appears statistically small. But for a profession that prides itself on honor and discipline, any episodes of abuse cast a pall.