The Air Force Academy announced pending charges against two cadets this week alleging sexual assault. Formal charges will not be filed until an Article 32 hearing is held. The case falls under the military justice system because the assaults allegedly took place at a federal military academy.
Former Marine Captain Anu Bhagwati, the executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, stated “It is imperative that the Air Force Academy act swiftly and decisively to investigate these charges. The vast majority of senior officers and commanders who develop, implement and enforce military sexual assault policies graduate from service academies – so that is where ending sexual assault in the military must begin.”
The Air Force Academy has not given any further information on the incidents, nor about what the two cadets could face in the way of punishment.
SWAN explains that “The military academies have seen a dramatic increase in the number of reported sexual assaults since 2009. According to an annual DOD report on sexual violence at military academies, sexual assault reports rose 58.5% over last year and increased 160% over the past two academic years. Assaults at the Air Force Academy showed the greatest increase, up 65% from last year and up a shocking 266% since 2009. The report also revealed that the Air Force Academy was only in ‘partial compliance’ with required sexual assault policies.”
Bhagwati also said “The Air Force Academy needs to get with the program. Cadets at the Service Academies are some of the best and brightest this country can offer, and their safety and protection must be paramount. Sexual misconduct cannot go unpunished, or it will go on unabated.”
The 2011 DOD Report on sexual assault.