Female Cadets Allege Retribution by Commanders
Make it 12, the number of current and former
female US Air Force Academy undergraduates who say they've been
sexually harrassed or assaulted - then reprimanded for reporting
USAFA officials have yet to comment on the allegations. Sen.
John Warner (R-VA) has called for a complete investigation. USAF
teams are on site in Colorado Springs (CO) now, beginning their
Sen. Allard: "Legitimate Concerns"
"They indicated to me that they had interviewed some of the
women. The investigators relayed to me that they had some
legitimate concerns," Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) said. Allard told
reporters his office had received several complaints from the
current and former cadets. Allard said he may ask the entire Senate
Armed Services Committee to investigate.
"We think the women are credible," Allard told the Denver Post.
"It seems like when a woman reports a rape case that the wheels get
set in motion where she gets forced out of the academy. And not
always is there a similar thing happening to the men."
Gen. Gilbert Welcomes An Investigation
The Academy's commandant of cadets, Gen. S. Taco
Gilbert III, said he welcomes any and all investigations. The
general denied that there is any sort of policy - written or
practiced - that punishes female cadets for reporting sexual
"If there is a perception of a problem in the wing, we've tried
to take that head on because I will not tolerate, I will not
tolerate, retribution against a victim ... and I have made that
very clear to the cadet wing," he said.
Worst Since Tailhook?
The fast-moving USAFA case could develop into the biggest
military sex scandal since the 1991 Tailhook debacle, when Navy and
Marine pilots sexually molested Navy women at a party in Las
In this most recent spate of cases, many of the female Air Force
cadets who reported they were sexually assaulted said they were
punished as a result. One woman who left the Academy said she did
so after her commanders responded to her allegations by alleging
she had broken rules regarding drinking, fraternizing with
upperclassmen and having sex in the school's dormitories.
After rape allegations at the Colorado Springs facility in 1993,
the USAF set up a 24-hour rape hotline. Since that time, the
Academy reports 99 calls to the phone number. Eight cadets have
been dismissed for sexual assault-related charges since then.