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Legislators to military: End sex assaults

WASHINGTON — From Congress to the White House, pressure is mounting to hold military commanders accountable for the rising number of sexual assaults in the armed services.

‘‘This needs to end,’’ Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.’’

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‘‘When a victim comes forward, they should have an advocate to walk them through the military justice system, and commanders who continue to allow this to flourish quite frankly should be fired,’’ Graham said.

Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said the military’s future includes both men and women in leadership and cultural changes are needed ‘‘when it comes to the command structure’’ to make sexual assault and harassment ‘‘unacceptable, intolerable; and those who engage in it should pay a price.’’

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is urging Congress to exercise caution as it crafts legislation to combat the growing epidemic of sexual assaults in the armed forces.

Dempsey said in a May 20 letter to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee that any legislative remedies must maintain the commander’s role in the military justice process.

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