Official: Reports of sex assault in Navy increase

NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) — The number of sexual assaults being reported to the U.S. Navy has grown by about 50 percent over the previous year.

The Navy said Wednesday it is on pace to end the 2013 fiscal year with more than 1,100 sexual assaults. That’s up from 726 sexual assaults reported in the previous fiscal year. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

The Navy’s top sexual assault prevention and response officer, Rear Adm. Sean Buck, says the increase in sexual assault reports was expected and is a positive sign that sailors feel more comfortable coming forward.

A Defense Department report previously estimated that 26,000 service members have been sexually assaulted, but fewer than 3,000 were officially reported.

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