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Academy superintendent: Sex assault reports down but more work ahead

Jan. 10, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said she is encouraged by a Defense Department report released today that shows sexual assault reports at the service academies are down from a year before. Still, 'we realize there is more work to do be done,' she said in an email statement.
Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said she is encouraged by a Defense Department report released today that shows sexual assault reports at the service academies are down from a year before. Still, 'we realize there is more work to do be done,' she said in an email statement. (Air Force)
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Air Force Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said she is encouraged by a Defense Department report released today that shows sexual assault reports at the service academies are down from a year before.

Still, “we realize there is more work to do be done,” Johnson said in an email statement. The academy “will use feedback from this report to refine and strengthen a culture of commitment and a climate of respect for all members of the USAFA family.”

The DoD study revealed nearly two-thirds of the reports were at the Air Force Academy, which had 45 reports of sexual assault from June 2012 to May 2013, seven fewer than the previous year.

Overall, reports went down from 80 to 70.

Johnson said the numbers show victims at the Air Force Academy feel comfortable coming forward. “However, our goal is zero incidents. Prevention and victim care are the cornerstones of our program, and maintaining a climate of dignity and respect across the institution is central to eliminating sexual assault,” her statement said.

Students at the military academies often believe they have to put up with sexist and offensive behavior, according to the annual report on sexual assaults at West Point in New York, the Naval Academy in Maryland and the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

The report points to scandals involving sports teams at all three academies during the last school year as examples of the problems. It urges leaders to do more to improve training and prevention programs.

The report, which also assesses the effectiveness of policies, training, procedures and initiatives for sexual assault prevention and response at each of the academies, found the Air Force Academy has fully complied with all of the Defense Departments SAPR efforts, Johnson’s statement said.

“Highlighted initiatives in the ... report include [the Air Force Academy’s] use of Air Force Special Victims Counsel attorneys, which empower victims by providing advice and advocacy, the Commandant's renewed focus on the enforcement of standards, and the development of the Cadet Bystander Intervention Program,” Johnson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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