WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) announced today that they have asked the Defense Department’s Inspector General to investigate allegations that U.S. Air Force Academy officials are not taking appropriate actions in response to reports of sexual assaults against women cadets. During the last few weeks, several current and former cadets have charged that they were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted while attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The women allege that Academy officials failed to investigate these charges properly or to discipline the perpetrators. In some cases, the women said, they were retaliated against for reporting the attacks.
“We are deeply concerned about these allegations,” the senators said Monday. In their February 24 letter to Defense Department Inspector General Joseph Schmitz, Collins and Lieberman called for an immediate and thorough investigation of the charges.
Noting that Air Force Secretary James Roche has announced the creation of a special panel to review the sexual assault policies in the U.S. Air Force, with an emphasis on the Air Force Academy, the senators said in their letter, “While we commend the Secretary for taking action in response to the allegations, we believe it is imperative that an independent investigation be conducted. The Inspector General’s office is best suited to undertake such an investigation. A thorough investigation needs to be conducted as quickly as possible, for even if only a portion of the allegations are true, such behavior is intolerable, and corrective actions are required immediately.”