A Fort Jackson soldier accused of sexual assault has been suspended by the Army.
Richland County Sheriff’s Department charged 28-year-old Kyle Jacob West with third-degree criminal sexual conduct on April 24, according to court records.
West is a staff sergeant assigned to the 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment at the Army basic training installation, a base spokesperson confirmed.
Court records provide few details about the incident that led to West’s arrest. Deputies jailed him at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. But a judge released him without having to pay bond. West has a court appearance scheduled for May 21, court records said.
“Fort Jackson leadership is aware that Staff Sgt. Kyle Jacob West … was arrested in April by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department,” spokesperson L.A. Sully said. “The Fort Jackson command and our CID office are fully cooperating with local authorities. We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and, as a result, West has been suspended from his duties until the charges have been adjudicated. Sexual misconduct is not tolerated and is inconsistent with Army values and the Army profession.”
West’s lawyer, J. Taylor Bell, said his client is “presumed innocent and maintains that innocence.”
“We’re doing our own investigation,” Bell said. “(West) has honorably served our country including overseas and we await our day in court.”
Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable with up to 10 years in prison.
Two other Fort Jackson soldiers have been embroiled in criminal cases since mid April. That’s when deputies charged Jonathan Pentland, a 42-year-old sergeant stationed at the Army installation, with simple assault for yelling at and putting his hands on a Black man who was passing by, according to police. Video of the incident spread over social media and the incident grabbed national attention.
Then on May 6, a Fort Jackson trainee ran off base with a rifle and hijacked a school bus full of elementary school children, leading to his arrest, police said. The hijacking garnered national headlines.
Fort Jackson is the nation’s largest military basic training base with more than 50,000 recruits assigned there each year.
(c) 2021 The State
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.