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US military officials [Representational Image]Reuters

The latest report released by the Pentagon Inspector General's office released on Thursday revealed a top defence official resigned in April for sexually harassing three female staff members. 

Guy Roberts who was the assistant secretary of defence for nuclear chemical and biological defence programs. 

According to the Pentagon report, the former Marine Corps infantry officer "engaged in a pattern of misconduct in which he sexually harassed women on his staff" that included "deliberate, unwelcomed physical contact of a sexual nature by hugging, kissing, or touching."

The report also said he created a "hostile, intimidating, and offensive work environment for women" on his staff by making "deliberate, repeated, and public comments of a sexual nature to members of his staff in meetings and in a town hall forum," reported the Associated Press. 

While Roberts denied the accusations, he said that he didn't intend to sexually harass the female employees and acknowledged that some of his jokes "were inappropriate." The investigation that involved testimonies from 18 witnesses found that two other females were also sexually harassed by Roberts.

women in top leadership positions
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Repeated sexual harassment 

The issue came to light after a female staff member complained about his misbehaviour in February. The first staff member to complain said Roberts conducted a series of illicit actions including hugging, kissing, whispering 'I love you' and even touching her thigh during a social event. She said despite telling him that his behaviour makes her uncomfortable and repeatedly telling her to stop, he continued to pursue her by making statements and inviting her for dates. 

The second and third female staffers alleged Roberts of inappropriate touching and even commenting upon one of their "looks." Both of them said they didn't report Roberts because they feared it would damage their reputation and careers. 

While the chief defence spokesperson Johnathan Hoffman did not comment on the report, a department spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews said, "the department's commitment to modernizing the department's nuclear force and closely cooperating with allies and partners remains unwavering, and will result in the increased defence of the nation," adding "We appreciate [Roberts'] service to the department and wish him continued success."