Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has responded to reports of sexual harassment and assault at military service academies.
A Department of Defense review out Wednesday says West Point saw 50 reports of sexual assault last school year. That's nearly twice the amount the school saw the previous year, and the greatest increase of the three academies studied.
The USMA superintendent said he was encouraged by the rise, interpreting it to mean recent changes are helping more victims to report. Gillibrand took a different reading, however, calling it further confirmation of a major problem.
She issued a statement reading in part, "Despite repeated claims by military leadership of zero tolerance for sexual assault throughout the military, it is disheartening to see a lack of significant progress ... in preventing and responding to allegations of sexual assault — and that an intense stigma still surrounds those who are brave enough to report."
Both Gillibrand and West Point expressed a need to improve. The senator is asking lawmakers to pass what she's calling the Military Justice Improvement Act.