SecNav Ray Mabus urges end to sexual assaults

ORLANDO, Fla. — Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on Tuesday issued a forceful charge to Navy and Marine Corps leaders to fully support efforts to reduce the incidence of sexual assaults within the ranks, “in every way and at every opportunity.”

“I’m going to continue to hold our COs responsible for their command sexual assault prevention programs, demand that they properly train their personnel, and hold them accountable if that doesn’t occur,” Mabus said Tuesday morning during an address at the Navy 2011 Sexual Assault Prevention Summit. “But we’ve got to have the same accountability in every leader — particularly our first-line leaders, the ones our junior sailors and Marines really listen to.

“It’s these leaders who will influence the success or failure of our program,” said Mabus, who in 2009 established the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention andResponse Office, or SAPRO. “It’s the chiefs, and the gunnies, on the deckplates who know their sailors, know their Marines, see them every day, help shape their conduct, know when something isn’t right, and will really make a difference.”