• Senators push for answers on VA sexual misconduct policies

    By: Samantha Manning

    Updated:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two U.S. Senators are demanding answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs about how it handles sexual misconduct reports.

    It comes after sexual assault allegations were made at a VA Hospital in West Virginia.

    It also stems from a former California doctor contracted by the VA who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting veteran patients.

    Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) asked about the sexual misconduct reporting policies and the vetting process for contractors in a letter.

    "Our veterans need to feel safe and cared for at our VA hospitals," Capito said in a statement. "No one should live in fear of being attacked or feel as though they are unsafe—especially in this way and in a place like one of our VA facilities. I am horrified and disgusted by the news coming out of the Beckley VA. This should have never happened in the first place, and I am committed to making sure this is fully investigated."

    "They have to set up systems in place to make sure those type of predators do not work there," Women Veterans of America National Commander Yolonda Williams said. "To transition out of the military and be faced with this type of treatment, it's just, it's unfathomable."

    VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the department works with the Attorney General in the criminal cases and said employees are trained to intervene with sexual misconduct.

    "In some of the instances in that letter, we moved vigorously to prosecute," Wilkie said. "If anyone, veteran or employee, does something untoward, certainly an employee is disciplined."


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