Hearings Held for Cadets Charged in Air Force Sex Scandal
One month after new leadership was installed to quell the embarrassing sexual assault scandal plaguing the US Air Force Academy, hearings were held for two cadets accused of sexual assault. Last week, junior cadet Jason Lewis, charged with sexual harassment and indecent assault involving two women in November, declined to appear at a military pre-trial hearing (Article 32 hearing) to determine whether he would be court-martialed. A recommendation on his case is expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, an Article 32 hearing was scheduled today for sophomore cadet Douglas Meester, who is charged with rape, forcible sodomy, providing alcohol to minors, and indecent assault from an incident in October, reported the Denver Post.
The recent events highlight the academy's latest efforts to combat a problem that has prompted at least five military and civilian investigations. Last week, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida reiterated the academy's commitment, pledging "I will give [women] my personal guarantee that we're going to do absolutely everything in our power to prevent an incident of sexual assault from happening and if it does... we'll handle it fairly and squarely," according to the Arbiter Online.
Last month, the academy unveiled its Agenda for Change, calling for dramatic shifts in student body structure, including greater adult oversight and a weakened student command chain, as well as implementation of 24-hour dorm security and monitoring. In addition, the proposals mandated reporting of rape by anyone with knowledge of the incident, including fellow cadets, academy counselors, and medical staff.
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/14/03, 5/11/03; Arbiter Online 5/8/03; Denver Post 5/14/03; 9News.com 5/14/03; Feminist Daily News Wire
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .