Air Force colonel indicted on assault charge

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press - Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, who led the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit, is seen leaving the Arlington County General District Court on July 18 in Arlington.

The former chief of the Air Force’s sexual-assault prevention branch was indicted Monday on an assault and battery charge, prosecutors said.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was arrested in May after being accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts and buttocks in the parking lot outside a strip of restaurants and bars in Crystal City. Police say he was drunk at the time.

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Krusinski was chief of the Air Force’s sexual assault-prevention branch when the incident occurred, and it came as the Pentagon reported a surge in the number of sexual assaults and related crimes on military personnel. Under pressure from Congress, the Pentagon has just announced several revamped policies to prevent and prosecute sexual-assault cases.

Krusinski initially was charged with sexual battery, but Arlington prosecutors last month dropped that charge and said they would seek the indictment on an assault charge, which does not require proof of a sexual component. Both are Class 1 misdemeanors.

The woman’s account didn’t change, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos told Post columnist Petula Dvorak. But prosecutors decided that the way the sexual battery statute is written and has been interpreted by appellate courts made an assault charge more appropriate.

A trial date will be set this Thursday in Arlington County Circuit Court.

Stamos declined a request from the Air Force to turn the case to a military prosecutor. Court records show that Air Force officials conducted or are conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

An Air Force spokeswoman has said that Krusinski was assigned to another job after his arrest.

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