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WASHINGTON January 18, 2012, 09:02 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is preparing a series of new initiatives to try to curb sexual assaults in the military, the defense chief said Wednesday, calling the problem a stain on the honor of the armed forces.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said there were 3,191 sexual assaults reported in the military last year, which would be a slight increase from the 3,158 reported in 2010. But he said that because so few victims report the crime, the real number is closer to 19,000 assaults.

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