By Barbara Starr
A U.S. Army sergeant first class stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has been charged with allegedly secretly videotaping female cadets in their shower and latrine areas, according to Army officials.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClendon was charged May 14 with 13 "specifications" or allegations of "indecent conduct" in making videos between July 2009 and May 2012. Army criminal investigators are now contacting more than a dozen women who might have been videotaped, according to Army spokesman George Wright.
Wright said the investigation has been going on since May 2012, but charges were not made until last week because the Army was still trying to assemble computer evidence and identify the women involved.
He said he could not comment on how the matter was discovered because of the ongoing investigation.
McClendon, who helped train and mentor cadets, was relieved of all cadet duties and barred from any contact with cadets or cadet areas on May 17, 2012, and assigned to a desk job, Wright said.
He was transferred to Fort Drum, New York, on March 13, Wright said.
The story was first reported by the New York Times. The Army made no public announcement of the case and has only responded when asked questions by reporters.
This case comes as the Pentagon is grappling with a rise in sexual assaults in the military and pledges from President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to redouble efforts to address the problem.