Report shows military academy sexual cases are down - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Report shows military academy sexual cases are down

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A Pentagon report shows sexual assaults in military academies are down, but that may be because of a culture of tolerating harassment.

The annual report released today shows 70 sexual assault cases in the school year that ended May 2013. This is down from 80 the year before. Of those, almost two-thirds were at the Air Force Academy.

These involve cases at the Military Academy at West Point, the naval academy in Annapolis and the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Athletes and sports teams were also under more scrutiny after three separate harassment and assault cases at all three schools.

The Department of Defense says overall the academy programs follow the requirements of existing DOD policies. However, defense officials say students view crude behavior and harassment as an almost accepted experience at the academies and victims feel peer pressure not to report incidents.

That's why they're targeting team captains and training them to step up when they see unacceptable behavior.

"The academies are aware we develop the future leaders of the military," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, the director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

"That is why it is essential that the Department instill in its future leaders a commitment to fostering a climate of dignity and respect where cadets and midshipmen are empowered and possess the social courage to take action when faced with situations at risk for sexual assault, sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior of any kind."

Both the Army and Navy sent sports team captains to Gettysburg, PA. to talk to them about leadership and the need to combat sexual harassment and assault within their ranks.

However, cadets and midshipmen indicate that they remain concerned that reporting a sexual assault will impact their reputation and social standing with classmates.

That's why the secretary of defense is asking academies to implement several programs. Those include advancing and sustaining an appropriate culture and expanding alcohol policies to improve the safety of cadets and midshipmen.

The academies will report to the secretary of defense on their plans to support these initiatives by March 30.

For the full report from the department click here.

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