The U.S. Military’s top sexual assault prosecutor has been suspended after allegedly groping and trying to kiss a female lawyer more than two years ago, the army disclosed today.
Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, supervised the army’s nearly two dozen special victim prosecutors — who are in charge of prosecuting sexual assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children.
An Army source confirmed to military news publication Stars and Stripes, that an investigation was underway.
“We can confirm that this matter is currently under investigation and that the individual in question has been suspended from duties pending the outcome of the investigation,” the official reported. “Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing any additional information at this point.”
The Washington Post reported that news of the investigation surfaced just hours before a Senate vote on bills that would impose major changes in military law to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes.
One of the most hotly contested bills would strip authority from commanders to oversee the prosecution of sexual assault and instead give that power to full-time military prosecutors.
It is anticipated that the investigation will add fire to the debate and give ammunition to proponents of the bill who contest that the military is too complacent in their dealing with sexual assault and harassment cases.