One of President Donald Trump’s Joint Chiefs of Staff nominees, Gen. John E. Hyten, has been accused of sexual assault. In April, Col. Kathryn A. Spletstoser said Hyten entered her hotel room on December 2, 2017, where he forcibly kissed her and ejaculated on her pants, among other sexual misconduct, according to The New York Times.
“I found her very believable. I do think it becomes a he-said, she-said kind of a situation, but I have some questions after listening to her testimony where I’m going to try to follow up and seek some clarification,” Duckworth said, Roll Call reports.
Trump nominated Hyten for to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April. If confirmed, he would become the country’s No. 2 military officer and oversee over 1.2 million active-duty troops in the U.S. military.
The accusation highlights the continued struggle of sexual assault victims in the military to seek justice against their attackers. Col. Don Christensen, president of Protect Our Defenders, an organisation dedicated to advocacy for sexual assault victims in the armed forces, explained that the Defense Department still has much work to do for victims based on how the Hyten case is being handled.
“She has received no apology. Instead, the Pentagon praised the man she says sexually assaulted her,” he said to The New York Times. “If this were Staff Sgt. Hyten, he’d be getting charged. The only reason he wasn’t charged is because he’s Gen. Hyten.”
Despite the lack of official charges against Hyten, Spletstoser said she felt a moral responsibility to come forward.“I could not live with myself if this happens to someone else and I didn’t do anything to stop it.”