Air Force Academy Struggles with New Sex Assault Allegations

Months after the administrative shakeup replaced top brass at the US Air Force Academy, officials at the institution say incidents of sexual assault or harassment continue to occur. Academy spokesman John Van Winkle told the Associated Press, nine cases have been reported since April.

Despite implementing new proposals (termed the Agenda for Change) including dramatic shifts in student body structure, greater adult oversight, a weakened student command chain, and 24-hour dorm security and monitoring, a survey of nearly 600 female cadets released by the Defense Department last week revealed that 18 percent admitted to being sexually assaulted at least once, and 11 percent of fourth-year women said they had been victims of rape or attempted rape, according the AP.

Meanwhile, the academy is reconsidering its position regarding the confidentiality of victims reporting assault. In June, officials altered the academy’s previous position and rejected victim confidentiality, mandating participation from criminal investigators, a chaplain, a nurse, and a cadet representative in every reported assault case. Rape victim advocates continue to insist that confidentiality is critical for victims to come forward.

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Associated Press 10/10/03, 10/12/03, 10/15/03, 10/17/03, 10/25/03; Feminist Daily News Wire

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