West Point Sergeant Accused of Filming Female Cadets

A sergeant first class with the US Military Academy at West Point is facing charges of secretly filming female cadets with hidden cameras and without consent.

Sergeant First Class Michael McClendon is accused of secretly videotaping at least a dozen women without their consent. McClendon, who has been an instructor at West Point since 2009, served as a “tactical noncommissioned officer” and was “responsible for the health, welfare and discipline” of a company of 125 cadets. This position is responsible for “assist[ing] each cadet in balancing and integrating the requirements of physical, military, academic and moral-ethical programs.” The Army is currently reaching out to a dozen women whose privacy may have been compromised and are offering support services.

McClendon has not been suspended during the investigation, but was transferred to Fort Drum in New York after charges were filed May 14th. According to the New York Times, which first reported the story, “The Army made no announcement of the charges against Sergeant McClendon, but provided details after The New York Times learned of the inquiry from several current and former members of the West Point community who said they were alarmed by the allegations and wanted to learn of the academy’s plans to investigate and prevent future violations.”

Last week the news broke that an Army Sergeant 1st Class Sexual Harassment/Assault Result Prevention (SHARP) Coordinator and Equal Opportunity Advisor at Fort Hood in Texas is being investigated for sexual assault. According to a statement released by the Department of Defense (DoD) the service member in question is being investigated for allegations of “pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.” Two weeks earlier, an Air Force chief of sexual assault prevention and response was arrested on charges of sexual battery. Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Krusinski groped a woman in a parking lot. She fought him off when he attempted to grab her for a second time and immediately alerted the police. An anonymous spokesperson for the Air Force confirmed that Krusinski had been dismissed from his post in response to the allegations.

In addition, the Department of Defense issued an annual report in the beginning of May that showed that sexual assault in the military rose by 35% from 2010 to 2012. The report found that 26,000 members of the military experienced “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012 when answering an anonymous survey – a rate of approximately 70 assaults a day. The report also found only 3,374 reports of sexual assault were filed, according to the Pentagon. Of those cases filed, fewer than one in 10 ended with a court-martial conviction of sexual assault. In the majority of cases, the alleged attacker faced small administrative punishments or the case was dismissed.


New York Times 5/22/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/16/2013, 5/8/2013

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