Air Force officer makes court appearance in sex case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Air Force officer who had been in charge of a military unit aimed at preventing sexual assaults made an initial court appearance Thursday on a sexual battery charge but did not enter a plea.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, a 1994 graduate of the Air Force Academy who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested Sunday for allegedly grabbing a woman's buttocks and breasts in a parking lot in Arlington County near the Pentagon.

A police report said the unidentified woman fought off her assailant, who appeared intoxicated.

After his appearance Thursday, which lasted less than a minute, the 41-year-old officer made no comments to reporters outside the Arlington County Courthouse. He has been removed from his job leading a branch of the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told Congress on Tuesday that Krusinski is a personnel officer by training and had spent the previous 2.5 years working on Air Force staff in policy.

After taking the position with the sexual assault prevention unit in February, he underwent training aimed at preparing him for his duties, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Dorrian said.

Dorrian said Krusinski's record was "exemplary" and contained nothing that would have precluded him from serving with the unit.

Krusinski served in Iraq from November 2009 to May 2010 and in Afghanistan from August 2011 to February 2012, earning five non-combat medals during 19 years of service.

Arlington County declined an Air Force request that it allow Krusinski to be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos said that her office has "routinely prosecuted members of the military" and would do so in this instance as well.

"The incident occurred in Arlington, not on a military base," Stamos told CNN.

"In my 26 years, I have never been asked by the government to turn over a member of the military. It doesn't make any sense," Stamos said.

Krusinski's attorney declined comment.

The arrest came two days before the Pentagon released a report showing a 6% increase in reported sexual assault cases within the military in the fiscal year that ended last September 30.

Anonymous survey results collected over a two-year period ending in 2012 indicate that the increase may have been higher than that.

President Barack Obama has said he will not tolerate such conduct and urged the Pentagon to step up its prevention efforts.