Europe

German defense ministry investigates army abuse allegations

Germany's defense ministry is investigating claims of abuse at an army training base after reports that male and female soldiers were subjected to demeaning rituals and sexual harassment.

Jens Flosdorff, a spokesman for the defense ministry says disciplinary proceedings have been launched, seven people have been suspended, and prosecutors are investigating whether to bring criminal charges.

Flosdorff said Monday the allegations centered around three separate abuse cases, some going back to 2014.

Flosdorff told reporters in Berlin that the allegations were "outrageous and repulsive, and certainly no advertisement" for the German armed forces.

He said lawmakers would be briefed on preliminary investigation results Monday and the military's chief of staff planned to visit the base, in the southwestern town of Pfullendorf, later this week.

Germany has almost 178,000 active soldiers.