President Barack Obama on Friday condemned the growing epidemic of sexual assault cases within the nation's armed forces, calling on a young class at the U.S. Naval Academy to restore America's trust in one of its most venerable institutions.
"Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong," Obama told graduates in Annapolis, Maryland. "That's why we have to be determined to stop these crimes. Because they have got no place in the greatest military on earth.
"You're about to assume the burden of leadership, as officers, you will be trusted with the most awesome of responsibilities, the lives of the men and women under your command," he added. "And when your service is complete, many of you will go on to help lead your communities, America's companies, you will lead this country. And if we want to restore the trust of the American people deserve to have in their institutions, all of us have to do our part and those of us in leadership, myself included have to constantly strive to remain worthy of the public trust."
A Pentagon report released earlier this month used anonymous surveys to assess that as many as 26,000 service members were assaulted in 2012 alone.