Australian Navy hit by fresh sex claims

It renews debate about the treatment of women in Australia`s military, being examined by an independent inquiry.

Sydney: Australia`s military was hit by a
fresh sex scandal on Sunday, with a female sailor claiming she was
sexually assaulted by a crewmate on board a mine-hunting ship.

The 21-year-old Able Seaman alleged that a fellow sailor,
24, had confronted and then sexually assaulted her aboard HMAS
Diamantina while it was docked in Sydney last month, defence
officials said.

"Military authorities were made aware of the complaint on
Friday 9 September 2011, when the complainant reported the
alleged incident to HMAS Diamantina`s Naval Police Coxswain,
who immediately informed his chain of command," a spokeswoman

The matter was referred immediately "and with
sensitivity" to Sydney police, and both sailors were given
medical, legal and professional support, she added.

The female sailor was still at work and the male was also
on duty, though he had been moved to a different location
"pending the outcome of ongoing investigations."

"Defence is awaiting the outcome of the NSW Police
investigation and will undertake the appropriate action upon
completion of the investigation," the spokeswoman said.

It renewed debate about the treatment of women in
Australia`s military, currently being examined by an
independent inquiry set up after a sex scandal at the nation`s
elite defence academy earlier this year.

The case, in which a female cadet was unwittingly filmed
and broadcast via the Internet without her consent having sex
with a male classmate, also sparked a review of sex and other
abuse in the military.

More than 1,000 claims have so far been made involving
sexual abuse, beatings and other misconduct within the armed
forces stretching back decades.

Australia`s military has gained an unwanted reputation
for drinking and sexist attitudes, with a report into
incidents on board the supply ship HMAS Success this year
finding a sexually predatory and boozy culture, concealed
through silence and fear.

Bureau Report

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