Sexual assaults: Air Force Academy rate half of average civilian campus's

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AFA chapel.
Last week, we shared details about sex-assault accusations against three Air Force Academy cadets -- Stephan Claxton, Kyle Cressy and Robert Evenson -- nine years after a scandal over similar crimes rocked the institution. An AFA rep stresses that the academy takes such incidents very seriously -- but he adds that the rate of sexual assault there is just over half the average at civilian college campuses.

As we reported, charge sheets released by the academy note that Claxton is accused of committing illicit acts in March and November of last year. In the first, he's said to have placed a cadet's hand on his penis while engaging in underage drinking. In the second, he's said to have struck a fellow cadet on the face with his fist, then unbuttoned and unzipped her pants without her consent, as well as forcibly kissed and choked her.

The Cressy incidents date to May 2011. The charges state that he penetrated a female cadet's vagina with his hand or finger, as well as his penis, while she was "substantially incapacitated."

Evenson, for his part, allegedly masturbated over a cadet and ejaculated on her stomach while holding her down sometime during the month of November 2010. Between March and July of that year, he's also suspected of forcing sex "using power or strength or restraint to her person sufficient that she could not avoid or escape the sexual conduct." In addition, in February 2010, the document contends that he helped a cadet in an Honor case "in return for a dating relationship and sexual favors, requiring her to violate her probation in return for helping her, and threatening to harm her military career if she did not comply."

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On Friday, following reports about the trio, the Air Force Academy held an informational briefing for members of the media about investigatory and disciplinary procedures collected under the umbrella term Article 32. According to AFA chief of media relations Meade Warthen, one attendee asked how the rate of sexual assaults at the academy compared to those on civilian campuses. To answer that question, sexual assault response coordinator Teresa Beasely turned to a National Institute of Justice study, on view below in its entirety. According to the document, the typical civilian campus experienced 35 rapes per 1,000 students each academic year as of 2000.

In contrast, academy figures show an actual rate, as opposed to an estimate, of nineteen sexual assaults per 1,000 students -- just over 54 percent of the civilian figure.

Warthen stresses that these numbers were crunched in order to answer a question posed in the briefing, not to "point fingers at civilian campuses or say we're better than anybody else. And we also don't want to make excuses. There's no excuse for sexual assaults or anything related to them occurring at the Air Force Academy."

The reason for releasing the information, then, is "because we just want to get the facts out," he continues. "We want people to know that we have some very concrete programs in place. The cadets get a lot of training on sexual assault prevention, sexual assault response, bystander response, where, if you see something you didn't think is correct behavior, you're encouraged to intervene. And there's also training about people who feel they've been sexually abused, sexually assaulted, sexually harassed -- reporting avenues where they can address their concerns.

"This is something that's continually brought to the attention of cadets," he points out. "I don't know how much of that is the case on civilian campuses, so that may be one reason why the rate is lower with cadets."

Not that it's low enough. "If there's one sexual assault, that's one too many," Warthen says. "We're doing everything we can to turn it into a zero-sum figure. So we don't want to give the impression that we're okay."

Look below to read the report from which the estimate for sexual assaults on civilian campuses was derived.

The Sexual Victimization of College Women

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Read more on the subject of sexual assaults at the AFA in our "Inside the Air Force Academy" archive.

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My Voice Nation Help

Whatever statistics are available, they can be broken down many different ways to show whatever kind of feeling you want.....good, bad, indifferent etc.  How about,  who gives a rat's a** about the statistics.  Why don't we focus on The SYSTEM (Hypocrites) that is continuously is out to protect itself. I think the Air Force (US GOV'T and it's Subsidiaries) released this information to the public (and they wouldn't have otherwise) because of the earlier report showing an increase in sexual crimes at the service academys.  Someone figured there was going to be a big 'ole magnifying glass on them, so they decided to grandstand these cadets with the charges pending against them in an attempt to show they are doing the right thing.  

If you really believe, 3 non-related investigations of multiple charges against 3 separate men that took place at different times over the last 15months finished at the same time after an article about an increase in sexual allegations at service academies is up...........I've got some waterfront property for you.

Since Penn States' dirty program of "protecting itself" over the welfare of American Citizens/Students/Humans (whatever you want to label the regular guy/gal), there has been a rise in Institutions all over addressing there own sexual allegations, hazing, etc. and throwing a bone out to the Press/public and world showing they're doing the right thing.  Overtime it'll go back to hush and sweep it under the carpet.


The Black Hand
The Black Hand

Before we get all congratulatory about the AFA, let's look a little deeper into those numbers.  They have half as many rapes as civilian institutions, but (according to my quick and dirty google searches) significantly fewer women.  Most college rapes are perpetrated by males against female and there simply aren't as many women at the AFA.  The male-female ratios I found were: National Average: 43-57Air Force Academy: 80-20

I'm sure that these numbers can be easily contested, but the general point remains the same.  Chances of a female student becoming rape victim are higher at the AFA than the national average.

I'm not statistician, but I also didn't publish the AFA rape stats with the intention of clearing the school's name.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong take, Billy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


That is a great point.

Spot on.


Further interesting is the statement, "In contrast, academy figures show an actual rate, as opposed to an estimate(...)".  

Sexual violence in all forms and in all places is notoriously underreported.  Many victims are afraid, ashamed, intimidated, protective, etc. and never report the incident.  

This is why most statistics report an estimated number.  What you are talking about is the actual reported number, often thought to be 10%...  This would make the 'estimated' incidence rate at the Academy 190/1000...  

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting take, Black Hand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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