The guided missile submarine Florida (SSGN-728) makes her way through Cumberland Sound to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, 11 April 2006. (U.S. Navy/Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Lynn Friant)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Navy leaders failed to address sailors' safety concerns after a sexually explicit list targeting female crew members surfaced aboard the service's second submarine to integrate women, resulting in the firing of a commanding officer and several other punishments.

A "rape list" was shared by members of the guided-missile submarine Florida's Gold crew, where investigators found "lewd and sexist comments and jokes were tolerated, and trust up and down the chain of command was nonexistent." That's according to a 74-page investigation into the misconduct, obtained exclusively by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Florida, homeported in Kings Bay, Georgia, was the second submarine to integrate enlisted women in February 2018. Capt. Gregory Kercher, who became the Florida Gold crew's commanding officer five months prior, was fired in August for a loss of confidence in his ability to lead.

At least two sailors assigned to the submarine have been separated from the military, and an undisclosed number faced administrative punishment in connection to the list, Navy officials said.

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U.S. service members have reported a spike in sexual assaults, especially young women, according to a confidential survey released by the Pentagon in February 2019(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

WASHINGTON — Congress could intervene in legal cases on behalf of military members who have been sexually assaulted under a new bill co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Brian Mast.

The Florida Republican in late April introduced "Harmony's Law," named after his constituent Harmony Allen, who was raped by an instructor just three months after joining in the U.S. Air Force in 2000.

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Once again, military sexual assaults are on the rise — and the numbers tell a grim story.

The Pentagon's estimate of the number of service members who were sexually assaulted rose 37.5 percent from 14,900 in fiscal 2016 to 20,500 in fiscal 2018, according to the Defense Department's latest report on sexual assault in the military.

That is the highest number of sexual assaults in four years, the report says.

Moreover, a biennial survey indicated a 44 percent increase in female service members between the ages of 17 and 24 who said they had been sexual assaulted, defense officials said.

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Then-Maj. Michael B. Black walks toward an aircraft on the Duke Field, Fla., flightline in August 2016. (U.S. Air Force/Samuel King)

EGLIN AFB — An officer with the 919th Special Operations Group, an Air Force Reserve unit headquartered at Duke Field near Crestview, Florida, has been charged with multiple counts of sexually assaulting a female senior airman while deployed to Uganda two years ago, according to a charge sheet provided by Eglin Air Force Base's public affairs unit and online reporting in the Air Force Times newspaper.

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Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), the first female Air Force pilot to fly a combat mission, has come forward as a military sexual assault survivor.

"My drive to fight against sexual assault in the ranks is not from the outside looking in. It is deeply personal," McSally said on Tuesday at the opening of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assaults at the service academies.

McSally's voice was full of emotion as she told witnesses at Tuesday's hearing, "I also am a military sexual assault survivor."

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Incidents of sexual assault and other unwanted sexual contact at the three military service academies have spiked nearly 50 percent since 2016, defense officials announced on Thursday.

The term "unwanted sexual contact" is used to describe behaviors that constitute sexual assault under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including rape, aggravated sexual contact, and abusive sexual contact, said Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

A total of 747 midshipmen and cadets responded that they had been the victim of unwanted sexual contact as part of a biennial survey, compared with 507 victims in 2016, Galbreath told reporters on Thursday as the Pentagon released its annual report on sexual harassment and violence at the military service academies.

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