Posts Tagged With: Air Force Academy

Sex Assaults At Military Academies Up 60 Percent

Sex Assault Reports At Academy Up 60 Percent

Sexual assault reports at the Air Force Academy jumped nearly 60 percent during the last academic year while the prevalence of the crime remained about the same, according to a new Defense Department study.

The results, which mirror the two other service institutions — the Military Academy and the Naval Academy — signal greater victim confidence but show that efforts to reduce sexual assaults among future military leaders have been unsuccessful.

Air Force cadets made 52 sexual assault reports during the 2011-2012 year, up 58 percent from 33 in 2010-2011. They also accounted for 65 percent of the 80 reports made at all three academies, despite sim­ilar student populations.

In 44 of the 80 reports, victims said they were victimized by a fel­low cadet or midshipman, the study said. Twenty-five incidents occurred on academy grounds.

Since sex assault is one of the most under-reported crimes, the military has long relied on an anonymous survey to measure the rate of such incidents, director of the DoD Sexual Assault Preven­tion and Response Office Maj. Gen. Gary Patton said in a news conference with reporters before the release of the report Dec. 21.

Fewer than 15 percent of sexual assault victims in a college envi­ronment report the crime, accord­ing to the study. That number stands at around 11 percent at the service academies.

At the Air Force Academy, far more are making reports — about 28 percent of victims, Col. Stella Renner, vice commandant of cul­ture and climate, said in a tele­phone interview.

“While we hate to see we have sexual assaults, we are very proud we have a strong reporting cli­mate,” Renner said.

That shows cadets feel more comfortable asking for help after they are victimized and that there is increased trust in the system, she insisted.

“We’re seeing cases where vic­tims who have come forward in the past are bringing in other people they know of who may have had a situation they haven’t reported yet. Nobody’s going to tell on you. It’s private. You can start healing and moving on,” Renner said.

Reporting has been on the uptick at all three academies since 2008 and increased by 23 percent overall from the last academic year, Patton said.

“Any sexual assault is bad, and our goal is always to eliminate sexual assault,” he said. “The more we know about the incidents that do happen, the more we can help victims become survivors, [gain] insight into what’s going on” and prosecute perpetrators.

But both Patton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed concern at what they described as a persistent problem and a lack of progress in combating it.

“There is not enough progress in preventing sexual harassment and assaults,” Patton said.

In a memo, Panetta directed the institutions to find new ways to “integrate sexual assault and harassment prevention into the full spectrum of academy life and learning” and ordered them to report back March 29.

The DoD report followed a year of high-profile sex scandals in the military, from the resignation of CIA director and retired Army Gen. David Petraeus to the inves­tigation of more than two dozen military training instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

There was no statistical increase in incidents of sexual assault at the Air Force Academy from 2010-2011, Renner said. Sexual harass­ment decreased significantly there but remained unchanged at the Military and Naval academies, the study showed.

Victims who did not make a report indicated in the anonymous survey that they took care of the incident themselves, that they did not want anyone to know about it and did not want people gossiping about what had happened to them.

Those who chose to make a report said they needed help deal­ing with an emotional event, that they wanted to stop the offender from hurting others and that they wanted to see justice served.

Reports of sexual assaults fall into two categories: restricted and unrestricted. Unrestricted reports involve law enforcement and the chain of command of the victim and the accused. Restricted reports afford victims privacy while making support services available to them.

Twenty-one of the 52 reports at the Air Force Academy were unre­stricted, Renner said.

She said the academy plans to study each of the reports. “We’ll continue to work and see if there are other things we need to consid­er. We look for trending informa­tion to see if there might be some­thing we can do from a police [change], lights, locks on doors.” Next year, the academy plans to begin bystander intervention train­ing. The training teaches cadets how to identify potentially danger­ous situations and intervene safely.

Teresa Beasley, sexual assault response coordinator at the Air Force Academy, called it “a good way ahead. I think they want to help each other,” she said of cadets. “This will give them the skills to do that.” Beasley said the academy has worked hard to raise awareness around campus. “Whenever you raise awareness, reports go up,” she said. “I consider anyone that walks in a victory.”                   (By Kristin Davis)


Air Force Times
January 7, 2013

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Color Blind Justice.

Color Blind Justice.

by London Steverson on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 2:07am

Air Force Academy Cadets Evenson, Claxton, and Cressy.

The Air Force Academy announced on January 5 that three male cadets had been charged with sex crimes stemming from unrelated incidents between February 2010 and May 2011. Academy officials said the three cases were announced together because the investigations happened to end at about the same time.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. is charged with rape. Evenson, for his part, allegedly masturbated over a cadet and ejaculated on her stomach while holding her down sometime during the month of November 2010. Between March and July of that year, he’s also suspected of forcing sex “using power or strength or restraint to her person sufficient that she could not avoid or escape the sexual conduct.” In addition, in February 2010, the Charge Sheet contends that he helped a cadet in an Honor case “in return for a dating relationship and sexual favors, requiring her to violate her probation in return for helping her, and threatening to harm her military career if she did not comply.”

Cadet Stephan H. Claxton is charged with abusive sexual assault. Claxton is charged with illicit acts in March and November of last year. In the first, he’s said to have placed a cadets hand on his penis while engaging in underage drinking. In the second, he is accused of striking a fellow cadet on the face with his fist and unbuttoning and unzipping her pants without her consent, as well as forcibly kissing and choking her.

Cadet Kyle A. Cressy is charged with aggravated assault. The Cressy incidents date to May 2011. The charges state that he penetrated a female cadet’s vagina with his hand or finger, as well as his penis, while she was “substantially incapacitated.”

Evenson and Claxton face other, non-sex-related counts.

It is not clear how many cases the Air Force Academy could have prosecuted; but, at least, they did not simply try to paint the crime with a black face.

The sexual assault charges against the Air Force Cadets are serious but they are not worthy of a Court-martial. Only Cadet Robert M. Evenson, Junior deserves stronger discipline. He abused his position as an Honor Code enforcer to obtain sexual favors. He should receive a Special Court-martial, not a General Court-martial. He should be held to a higher standard of conduct because he was in a position of trust. He abused that trust by taking advantage of a younger and less mature female cadet. Article 15, Non-judicial punishment, would be the appropriate forum to dispose of all the other charges. These few incidents of bad behavior should not become the most significant factors in determining their futures. Courts-martial should be reserved for terrorists and mass murderers. To bring out the big guns for such minor offenses would be a bad lesson in judgement to teach all the other cadets in the Academy.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, said in an interview the day of Panetta’s announcement that the military culture has “run amok” and the rules for handling sexual abuse need an overhaul. She has introduced a bill that would create a separate system within the military to investigate and prosecute sex crimes.

Currently, a victim’s commander might be part of the decision-making process. That creates a conflict of interest; the commander could suffer career damage if a subordinate is victimized; the commander could be a friend of the suspect; or the commander could be the suspect, Speier said.

“We’ve got to do something fairly dramatic to get the academies back on track and the military back on track,” she said.

“How do you measure prevention?”, asked Teresa Beasley, the Air Force Academy’s sexual assault coordinator.

Are these cadets simply a reflection of the same social dating forces at play in American society at large? It isn’t clear whether the disturbing news means sexual predation is on the rise at the Military academies. It could simply reflect the better efforts to encourage cadets to report any kind of unwanted sexual contact.

The Air Force Academy’s sex assault prevention campaign starts before freshman studies begin. Among other things, cadets are told the Department of Defense definition of sexual assault includes “intentional sexual contact … when the victim does not or cannot consent.”

The breadth of the definition comes as a surprise to some.

“When they come in at basic, you see the ‘deer-in-the-headlight’ look — ‘Wow, I didn’t realize I’d been assaulted,'” said Teresa Beasley.

Coast Guard Academy Cadet Webster Smith.

The Coast Guard had more than 10 cases of rape or sexual assault prior yo 2005. All of the sexual predators were white. None were prosecuted. Then, along came Webster Smith. He was African American and several women accused him of sexual assault. The Coast Guard Academy spared no effort or expense in prosecuting him in 2006. There was an attempt to make Webster Smith the poster child of sexual assault at the Coast Guard academy. It did not work.

In the book CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and Lady I paint an accurate picture of the Coast Guard Academy sexual predator based on actual eye witness interviews. https://www.amazon.com/author/cgachall.blogspot.com

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Sexaul Assaults Return To Military Academies. Boys will Be Boys. Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

English: Cadets of the Air Force Academy Class...

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<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2″>http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2</a&gt;

To start the New Year with a bang, commanders at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on 5 January 2012 charged three Air Force Academy cadets with sexual assault in cases that occurred over the past 15 months.

The cases involve acts allegedly committed at the Academy, and involve civilian women as well as female cadets.

In November 2011, Cadet Stephan H. Claxton is alleged to have unzipped the fly of a female cadet while she was “substantially incapacitated” — a phrase the military has used in the past to describe intoxication.

Cadet Claxton faces assault and attempted rape charges, including an allegation that he forcibly kissed one cadet and assaulted another. He is also charged concerning an incident in March 2011, where he is accused of forcing a fellow cadet to touch his genitals and indulge in underage drinking.

Cadet Kyle A. Cressy, a graduating senior and a member of the soccer team, is charged having sex with a woman at the academy who was “substantially incapacitated.” It’s unclear from the charge sheet whether the alleged victim was a civilian or a female cadet.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. is alleged to have forcibly raped a female cadet in the spring of 2010. He’s also charged with breaking cadet regulations by having an ongoing relationship with a female freshman. He also is suspected of abusing his power position as a “cadet non-commissioned officer for honor cases” to extract sexual favors from a female fellow cadet. This is serious. He was charged with enforcing the Honor Code. he may have used it to supply gris for his mill. As one of the cadets entrusted with enforcing the Academy’s Honor Code, he would have been in a very coveted position.  He was expected to  punish those who lie, cheat, steal or tolerate others who do. Those who violate the Honor Code face a maximum punishment of expulsion from the Academy. Allegations of corruption in the Honor Code enforcement system will likely send shockwaves through the Cadet Corps and the Academy alumni. The Honor Code is the very touchstone of the Academy’s culture.

These charges come to light a week after the Pentagon reported a spike in the number of sexual assaults at the air Force Academy. There were 33 reported incidents in the 2010-2011 academic year. This is a four-fold increase in a two year span.

There are about 4,000 cadets at the Air Force Academy.  A senior academy spokesman said these charges don’t appear to mark a return of the level of incidents of sexual assault of 2003. In 2003 the Academy and the nation were rocked when dozens of female cadets reported incidents of alleged sexual assaults. Many of those cases were mishandled or ignored.

Several senior officers at the Academy were fired in the wake of the 2003 scandal. This resulted in congressional scrutiny to the issue of sexual assaults at all the nation’s military academies. There were courts-martial at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut  and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Three were major reforms at those institutions.

The Coast Guard Academy court-martial of  Cadet Webster Smith marked the first time in history that a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy was given court-martial.  Some Coast Guard Academy graduates accused the Coast Guard of racial discrimination because the accused, Cadet Webster Smith, was African American and all of the accusers were white females. One of them was his girl friend who had become pregnant, and had an abortion more than six months before the Coast Guard decided to charge Cadet Smith with rape.

In the meantime it was learned that about 11 other cases of confessed rape had been resolved without resort to a court-martial. All of the other cadets were allowed to resign quietly and slip into darkness. All the other cadets were white. This is part of the reason that there were claims of bias and inappropriate command influence in the prosecution of Webster Smith.

The conviction was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court. It is interesting to note that there were several ‘Friend of the Court‘ or ‘amicus briefs’ filed with the Supreme Court by senior military lawyers from other branches of the armed forces in favor of the reversal of the Webster Smith conviction. It set a very bad precedent and there were irregularities in the prosecution and the appellate review of the conviction. The case was thoroughly critiqued in a book available on Amazon.com. (See http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2)

The Pentagon in a December 2011 report to Congress praised the Air Force Academy’s efforts to curb sexual assault in the ranks and gave the school high marks for its programs to encourage sexual assault reporting.

“[The academy] demonstrated commendable practices that should be considered for replication by other military service academies,” the Defense Department wrote in the report. The Coast Guard Academy had already implemented a new procedure for reporting and investigating sexual assaults in the wake of the Webster Smith case.

If any of these cadets get convicted, it would mark a reversal of fortunes for air Force prosecutors. Since the 2003 scandal, the academy has prosecuted a string of rape cases against cadets. But none of those cases has resulted in a conviction. Unlike the Coast Guard Academy, where one prosecution in 2006 resulted in one conviction and six months in jail for a graduating senior. (<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2″>http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2</a&gt;)

Recent rape trials at the Air Force Academy have almost always centered on the issue of ‘consent’. The defendant always used as a defense that the alleged victim gave her consent. He said she asked for sex. The cases were also marked by a lack of forensic evidence that could help sort out the conflicting claims. One can never be sure what a jury will decide in a case of ‘he-said, she-said’.

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