Air Force Academy: Panel Report Avoids Pointing Blame

Despite the release last week of an Air Force panel’s report clearing Academy officials of “systemic mistreatment” or mishandling of sexual abuse complaints, critics remain unconvinced. “I thought that the Air Force tried to use language that didn’t hold the academy and the academy officials fully responsible, and I was disappointed in that regard,” Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) told the Associated Press.

The 13-member panel, led by Air Force general counsel Mary Walker, wrote that despite the adoption of programs to handle incidents of sexual assault, actual coordination and attention by academy officials diminished since the mid 1990s. Among the report’s recommendations were a review of cadet hierarchy (over half of the alleged victims were first-year students), improved gender training, and the elimination of confidentiality in sexual assault reporting.

Investigations by the Air Force inspector general and a panel created by Congress are pending. Meanwhile, the AP reported that Amy McCarthy, one of seven panelists appointed to examine reports of mishandling of at least 57 alleged sexual assault incidents in the last decade, resigned last week amidst criticism for her remarks questioning the veracity of victim allegations.

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AP 6/19/03, 6/20/03; Washington Post6/20/03; NY Times 6/20/03; Rocky Mountain News 6/20/03; Feminist Daily News Wire

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