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Graduating cadets celebrate at USMA in West Point

 

Mike Segar / Reuters

Graduating cadets toss their caps into the air at the conclusion of their graduation ceremonies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on May 25. One thousand and seven cadets received diplomas as part of West Point's 215th graduating class, comprised of students from all 50 U.S. states and 15 foreign countries.

By Lolita C. Baldor and Michael Hill, The Associated Press

Mike Groll / AP

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Superintendent Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, Jr., stand for the national anthem at West Point.

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Saturday that they must stamp out the scourge of sexual assault in the military.

A day after President Barack Obama delivered a similar edict to U.S. Naval Academy graduates, Hagel's message comes amid a series of widespread incidents of sexual misconduct across the armed services in recent months, and a new report showing that the problem is growing. The challenge is particularly poignant for West Point, since an Army sergeant was charged earlier in the week with secretly photographing and videotaping at least a dozen women at the upper New York state academy -- including in a bathroom.

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Mike Segar / Reuters

Graduating cadet Caleb Guzik from Virginia Beach, Va., is embraced by his father Steve Guzic after Caleb graduated with the class of 2013 from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

While addressing the graduating class at West Point, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calls on cadets to build a "culture of respect and dignity" while calling sexual harassment and assault within the military a "profound betrayal" of "sacred oaths and trusts."