NEW YORK -- Pentagon records show that 50,000 military spouses were victims of domestic violence, five times higher than the civilian population rate for the same five-year period, CBS television reported.

The newsmagazine "60 Minutes" also reported that the U.S. military routinely fails to punish service members convicted of even extreme cases of domestic violence.Of the accused, fewer than 5 percent were court-martialed, according to Pentagon statistics cited by the television program on Sunday.

The program reviewed Pentagon records from 1992 through 1996 and compared them with Department of Justice records for the same period.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen declined to speak to "60 Minutes" about the issue.

Robert Clark, the commanding general of Fort Campbell, Ky., where several particularly violent incidents have occurred, said the military does a good job handling domestic violence cases.

In a written statement to the program, Clark said the U.S. Army has "taken active measures to prevent, identify and intervene at the earliest known occurrence of domestic violence."

But Peter MacDonald, chief district court judge in Kentucky with jurisdiction over Fort Campbell, said the Army routinely ignores his court orders designed to protect abused spouses. "They have no conception of what's going on in domestic violence," he said.

In one case, MacDonald issued an emergency protective order requiring Sgt. Bill Coffin to stay away from Ronnie Spence, his ex-fiancee. She was shot to death in her home in December 1997. Coffin pleaded guilty to domestic violence and other charges and was to be sentenced next month.

"They're not taking this seriously," MacDonald said. "And if they can't take my order seriously, how can they take the issue of domestic violence seriously?"

Sherry Arnold, a family therapist, was hired by the Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., to investigate cases of domestic violence and make recommendations.

She told "60 Minutes" that when she requested military protective orders to keep servicemen away from abused spouses, superior officers often would say, "No. I know what's best. This is my Marine, and I will take care of him."