Military academies see sharp rise in reported sexual assaults

None Jim Watson/Newscom
The number of reported sexual assaults at military academies has risen sharply, according to a new Defense Department report.

Between June 2010 and May 2011, 65 sexual assaults were reported at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the Pentagon's "Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies" found.

That's up from 41 reported incidents in the previous academic year.

Of the 65 reported cases, 12 resulted in disciplinary actions, including administrative discharge, reprimands, admonishments and counseling.

While the assessment could not explain the rise in reported assaults, it suggested that Defense's efforts to encourage more victims to report incidents may have been a factor.

An estimated 520 assaults may actually have occurred in 2009-2010, with most going unreported, according to the 2011 Service Academy Gender Relations Focus Group, whose findings were included in the report.

"One sexual assault is one too many," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement. "Whether it's in our academies or our ranks, at sea or ashore, there's no place for this unacceptable behavior."

During the past four years, the majority of reports of sexual assault occurred between cadets and midshipmen, the report stated.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, director of Defense's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, led the review of the academies. She said academy programs fulfilled or surpassed the requirements of current department policies.

"We know that the military academies are similar to college campuses around the country in that sexual harassment and assault are challenges that all faculty, staff and students need to work to prevent," she said. "However, when it does occur, we owe it to those who have been victimized, and to every cadet and midshipman, to do everything possible to provide needed support and to hold those who commit sexual assault appropriately accountable."

The report provided recommendations for the three academies, including one to complete implementation of 18 recommendations from the 2008-2009 report.

"We also identified areas for improvement to enhance programs and ensure compliance with the department's policies," Hertog said.

Following the report Tuesday, Defense announced two sexual assault policies for all members of the military. Service member victims of sexual assault now can file an unrestricted report and request an expedited transfer from their unit or installation. Defense also will standardize the retention period for sexual assault records, making them available to victims for a longer period of time.

"We treat each other with dignity in this institution," Panetta said. "I expect everyone in this department to live up to that high standard. This is a leadership issue, first and foremost, so I also expect us to lead with integrity and with energy to eliminate sexual assault and harassment from our culture."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.