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May-30-03

Female Cadets Blamed for Alleged Sexual Assaults at Air Force Academy

Mirroring the hostility many female cadets confronted when they reported sexual assault incidents at Colorado’s Air Force Academy, a woman appointed to a panel charged with investigating the academy’s mishandling of more than 50 sexual assault incidents has said that she questions the truthfulness of the female cadets’ allegations.

"Due to the fact that many of the women making the allegations were involved with drinking, partying, strip poker, what I call high-risk behaviors, my personal opinion is that a number of these allegations or the veracity of these allegations may be suspect,” Panelist Amy McCarthy told AP Radio, as reported by the Associated Press.

McCarthy is one of seven people appointed to an independent panel that is investigating reports of the mishandling of at least 57 alleged sexual assault incidents at the Air Force Academy over the past 10 years. In February, several women came forward claiming that the academy disciplined women who reported rape or assault, in some cases forcing them to leave. Spurring numerous ongoing investigations by entities both inside and outside of the military, the academy recently proposed sweeping changes known as the Agenda for Change.

Air Force Secretary James Roche recently said that two academy commanders, who were reassigned after the sexual assault scandal surfaced, could face charges if investigators find that they mishandled complaints. Previously, Roche had said that a stifling academy environment was to blame for the incidents rather than the commanders, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Dallager and Commandant Brig. Gen. Taco Gilbert III. However, Roche told the Associated Press before the academy’s recent commencement ceremony: “We are judging commanders. We do that all the time.”

Media Resources: Associated Press 5/29/03, 5/29/03; Feminist Daily News 4/18/03

   

     

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