An investigation by U.S. Air Force officials has discovered that 31 female cadets have been sexually assaulted by trainers at a military camp in Texas. The internal probe is at this time, looking at 12 military instructors that served at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force base. Six are facing misconduct charges, including adultery and rape allegations.
Most of the men under investigation were in the 331st training squadron. Last week the commander of the squadron was dismissed from his duty. He did not receive any sex crimes charges, but was relieved due to the unacceptable amount of misconduct in his squadron.
At a Pentagon briefing, General Edward Rice said investigators were looking at all the known cases and trying to determine if other cases exist. He said as far as he knows, all of the 31 women who reported they had been victims were still working in the military.
Rice also ordered a probe into the reaction by the Air Force to the scandal to assess if more action was necessary. In addition, commanders are looking into the possibility of women cadets only receiving training from instructors who are female. Currently only 11% of all Air Force instructors are female, while more than 22% of new cadets are women.
The probe started last year when three instructors reported sexual abuse among their training staff. The Air Force, in an unprecedented move, shut down the entire base for one day this past March to conduct interviews with 5,900 recruits.
Statistics suggest that sexual assault is widespread in the military and that up to 90% of the cases are not reported. Victims usually remain silent in the face of possible demotion and ridicule.