Female Army colonel fired over sexual assault, harassment allegations

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An Army officer was fired from her command due to a pattern of sexual harassment and assault against male subordinates, according to a report first published by Military.com.

Col. Meghann Sullivan was relieved of her command of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade’s Engineer Battalion last fall by Maj. Gen. Donn Hill, the Security Force Assistance Command commander, according to a statement from SFAC. Sullivan’s firing at the time was cited “due to a lack of confidence” in her ability to command.

Sullivan did not immediately respond to questions conveyed through I Corps public affairs or SFAC public affairs. The 5th SFAB, which is based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, is a hub for Indo-Pacific operations. Sullivan, a West Point graduate, was the first woman to ever lead an SFAB battalion, according to the 5th SFAB.

Military.com first reported on the investigation into Sullivan’s allegations of sexual assault. Sources with knowledge of the investigation allege Sullivan forcefully kissed one male subordinate and groped another below their belt without their consent. She is also alleged to have sexually harassed another male soldier.

The overwhelming majority of victims of sexual assault in the military are women, according to an April 2023 Pentagon report on the subject. Men, however, comprised 20% of reported victims. Only 1% of service members who were subjects of sexual assault investigations were of the rank O-4 to O-10, according to the report.

Sullivan is not the first 5th SFAB commander to be fired in recent years. In April 2023, 5th SFAB commander Col. Jonathan Chung was fired following an investigation stemming from complaints by troops under his command that they were frequently berated and micromanaged by the Chung over the course of his two-year tenure, according to an investigation published by Military.com. Others defended Chung’s leadership style as demanding and idiosyncratic, but not cruel.

Davis Winkie contributed to this reporting.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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