Parents to AP: Military ignored boy's abuse of girls on base

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Parents to AP: Military ignored boy's abuse of girls on base
In this Jan. 31, 2018, photo, a mother whose daughter said she was sexually assaulted during first grade by a classmate at their elementary school on a U.S. military base in Germany stands in her daughter's bedroom at their new home in Colorado. The Associated Press is not identifying the girl's mother or father, a U.S. Army soldier, to protect the girl's identity. The family was one of several who said the principal did not tell them about allegations their daughters were sexually assaulted. An Associated Press investigation showed how student-on-student sex assault reports languish in the Pentagon's worldwide school network. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The military fathers sat at the commander’s conference table, pleading for help, after their daughters told them they’d been sexually assaulted by a boy in their first-grade class at the U.S. Army base school in Germany.

Thousands of children live and attend school on U.S. military bases while their parents serve the country. Yet if they are sexually violated by a classmate or a neighborhood kid, they often get lost in a legal and bureaucratic netherworld.

That extends to the Defense Department’s education system, which affords its students fewer protections than those in U.S. public schools if they are sexually attacked by a classmate on campus. The system also has no specific policy to respond to student-on-student sexual violence and doesn’t accurately track the incidents, an Associated Press investigation found.