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AFA goes on the offensive


Johnson: Getting ahead of the news?
  • Johnson: Getting ahead of the news?
Trying to get ahead of a rumored news report about to break about how sexual assault cases have been handled, the Air Force Academy today released data on investigations of a cadet party that took place in December 2011.

None of the information was new. 

Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said the party, and subsequent investigations that led officials to discover various cadet misbehavior, resulted in 32 cadets being investigated. Of those, 16 were football players, two were basketball players and one, a diver.

Three cadets were court-martialed on sex-related charges and were convicted; five were given Article 15 non-judicial punishment and dis-enrolled; six resigned and three were discharged due to misconduct unrelated to the original party allegations. Fifteen of those accused graduated, of which seven were football players.

The academy scrambled to put together the accounting after word circulated that news outlets, including ABC News and the New York Times (via its newest reporter, former Gazette writer Dave Philipps) were working on a story. The upshot of the rumored exclusive, according to sources with some knowledge of the reporting effort, is that former superintendent retired Lt. Gen. Mike Gould and other academy leaders serving at that time allegedly knew about multiple cases of sexual assault but gave the offenders, who were football players, a pass. Gould played football for the academy as a cadet and is a well-known champion of Falcon Football.

Also rumored are that four women will tell their stories about multiple rapes that occurred and apparently weren't prosecuted.

Johnson was forthright in disseminating the information on the December 2011 party/investigation, but she noted, "I wasn't here four years ago. What I can control is going forward."

All that came down in a conference room next door to Johnson's office after a handful of reporters were invited to the academy this afternoon to hear Johnson give an appraisal of where the academy stands today after her first 11 months on the job. It was a busy time for the public affairs staff, being the day doolies arrived to begin their journey toward degrees.

About 35 minutes into her recap of progress at the academy, Johnson invited questions, and the first came from Gazette military reporter Tom Roeder, who asked about the 2011 case, leading to the accounting mentioned above.

She also gave an update on the freshman cheating incident from last academic year. While 42 cadets were investigated for cheating on a chemistry lab report, 23 cases were dropped. One cadet resigned. Ten were found to have violated the honor code, and eight were found not in violation. The academy didn't release how the violators were punished. 

Johnson noted all were freshmen, and the academy has a hard job of indoctrinating youth into the culture of honor of the Air Force. "It's an educational and developmental process," she said.

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