Air Force Academy to restructure sexual-assault office
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force Academy is restructuring and expanding its sexual-assault office after an internal investigation concluded it was crippled by poor management and derelict in its duties, the school’s top official said.
The academy’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, said he plans to require better qualifications for the office staff and put more emphasis on preventing assaults, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Saturday.
The academy released a report last month saying the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was hampered by infighting, rumors and shoddy record-keeping. The report was harshly critical of the director, Teresa Beasley.
The report said Beasley should be fired, but she resigned.
She has claimed the academy made her a scapegoat for sexual assault problems.
The academy has said other members of the office staff were also disciplined but it declined to give specifics.
The first step in restructuring the office is getting well qualified managers and counselors for victims, Silveria said.
“It’s a special kind of person who can provide that care,” Silveria said.
Another step will be dividing the office into two units, one devoted to preventing assaults and one to caring for victims, he said. Two staffers will be assigned to the prevention unit, Silveria said.
The academy has struggled for years to address assaults and other sexual misconduct.
Separately, two members of Congress say they will consider legislation allowing cadets at the three major military academies — Air Force, Army and Navy — to transfer to another academy to escape ostracism for reporting sexual assault.
Reps. Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn, both Colorado Republicans, told the Gazette the idea is worth considering.
Currently, no such transfer system is available, and resignation from an academy is the only option for a cadet who wants to avoid ostracism or retaliation.
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com