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Army sex assault prosecutor suspended over alleged assault

Mar. 6, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Jay Morse
Lt. Col. Joseph 'Jay' Morse (The Associated Press)
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A lieutenant colonel who supervises sexual assault prosecution in the Army is under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a female colleague, sources have confirmed.

Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse has been suspended from his job as chief of the Trial Counsel Assistance Program at Fort Belvoir, Va., “pending the outcome of the investigation,” an Army spokesman confirmed via email on Thursday.

The source could not, however, elaborate on the allegations.

“Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing additional information at this point,” the spokesman said.

But according to Stars and Stripes, Morse is accused of attempting to kiss and grope a female Army lawyer against her will in a hotel room in 2011. The two were attending a sexual assault legal conference for special victim prosecutors, Stripes has reported.

Morse was commissioned an aviation second lieutenant in 1993 and has served as a judge advocate since 2001, according to his bio. Attempts to reach Morse via phone and email were not immediately successful.

The investigation follows the news earlier this month that the Army disqualified 588 soldiers as sexual assault counselors, recruiters and drill sergeants for infractions ranging from sexual assault to child abuse to drunken driving.

The number of disqualified soldiers from what are called “positions of trust” was 10 times higher than the initial number the Army reported last summer after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered that troops in sensitive positions be screened for previous criminal or unethical behavior.

Hagel called for the review after a Pentagon study found troops reported that incidents of unwanted sexual contact had risen 35 percent from 2010 to 2012.

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