Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Pentagon Inspector General: AFA cadets weren't ousted for reporting sexual assault

Posted By on Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 1:20 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY AIR FORCE ACADEMY
  • Courtesy Air Force Academy
Air Force Academy officials didn't retaliate against cadets who were victims of sexual assault by dis-enrolling them from the academy for reporting them, according to the Defense Department's Inspector General's Office (DODIG).

The DODIG released a report of its investigation on Oct. 2, disputing what several cadets and former cadets told the Independent in mid-2017. That is, the cadets said when they reported they'd been sexually assaulted, Academy officials labeled them with a mental disorder and hastened to shove them out the door, and even make them pay for their Academy education.

While the DODIG dismissed that allegation as untrue, it found the Academy failed to report many sexual assaults to Congress through channels as required, which in effect vindicates former sexual assault response coordinator Teresa Beasley who, along with several others, were ousted in 2017 and blamed for upheaval in the Academy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office.

The DODIG's finding:
Furthermore, we determined that 11 cadet-victim reports of sexual assaults that were made to the USAFA Family Advocacy Program (FAP) were not reported to Congress as required by Public Law 109-364. In addition, we identified 24 reports of sexual assaults from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2017, that were not reported to Congress, although we could not determine, because of insufficient documentation by the Air Force Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database Program Administrator, whether they were required to be reported.
Beasley told the Indy in 2017 that in the summer of 2015 she discovered dozens of sexual assault reports had been removed from the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID) for the 2014-15 school year by officials at the Air Force. DSAID is the basis for reports sent to Congress annually about assaults at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; and USAFA.

Beasley now says the DODIG report proves she was right.

"Basically it confirms that 35 sexual assault reports were removed from the data base; that I did do my job taking care of victims, that I retired/was not fired, and much more," she says in an email.

David Mullin, former Academy economics professor who's conducted in-depth research of sexual assaults at the Academy, says via email that problems with USAFA's failure to report all sexual assaults through proper channels has made its sexual assault data "unreliable and very significantly understated."

"There were several lapses in the internal control of sexual assault reports at USAFA. Some original reporting forms have allegedly been destroyed without proper authorization," he writes. "Contrary to Department of Defense regulations, modifications to the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database have allegedly underreported sexual assaults at USAFA. Consequently the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies for Academic Program Year 2017-2018 retroactively lowered sexual assault reports for several prior years."
click to enlarge Adam DeRito in 2017 when he stopped at the Academy's overlook point. - CRAIG LEMLEY
  • Craig Lemley
  • Adam DeRito in 2017 when he stopped at the Academy's overlook point.
Former cadet Adam DeRito, who was ousted from the academy on the eve of his graduation after reporting he was sexually assaulted, later discovered his Academy medical records contained multiple mental disorders listed by a doctor he'd never seen, at a base he'd never been to, leading his attorney to accuse the Academy of "aggressive falsification of medical records." DeRito has since filed a lawsuit.

Asked about the DODIG's report, DeRito sent us this statement:
The most recent report issued by the Department of Defense Inspector General is a slap in the face to all victims of sexual assault at the United States Air Force Academy, especially to myself, in the current on-going Federal lawsuit of DeRito vs. USAFA. The report is disingenuous in its scope, and conveniently leaves out the facts of actual retaliation. In recent communication with the Air Force Records Review Panel, even they made a recommendation that my medical records from the Air Force Academy need to be changed. This proves that retaliation occurred. The evidence shows that Capt. Kristen Henley Price [who inserted mental diagnoses in his files] falsified my medical records as a Cadet, and as a victim of sexual assault, during my tenure as a Cadet and undercover informant for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. In the eyes of the American judicial system, this is a felony. Likewise, this report needs to be rescinded, corrected, and the entirety of the facts must be reported. Likewise, Capt Kristen Henley Price, Lt Gen Michael Gould [former Academy superintendent], and all officers involved with these previous cases, as well as my own case, must be held accountable. This report does not provide justice to the victims of sexual assault and retaliation from the USAF Academy, and the Department of Defense Inspector General must take these cases seriously to improve the readiness, effectiveness, and integrity of our leadership within the U.S. military.
We've asked the Academy for a comment and will update if we hear something.

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