In January 2003's "The War Within," Westword's Julie Jargon shared tales of female Air Force Academy attendees allegedly raped by fellow cadets amid a culture that didn't take such crimes seriously enough. And unfortunately, the war's not over. Similar charges against three more cadets have surfaced, and reports suggest that such incidents are on the rise.
Charge sheets on view below in their entirety detail the allegations against cadets Stephan Claxton, Kyle Cressy and Robert Evenson.
Claxton is charged with illicit acts in March and November of last year. In the first, he's said to have placed a cadets hand on his penis while engaging in underage drinking. In the second, he is accused of striking a fellow cadet on the face with his fist and unbuttoning and unzipping her pants without her consent, as well as forcibly kissing and choking 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."
Air Force Academy chief of media relations Meade Warthen stresses that the three men are innocent until proven guilty. And even though sexual assault reports have spiked from nine in 2010 to 33 last year, according to 9News, he bristles at any claim that such incidents are reaching epidemic proportions.
"Here's the way it works," he says. "When we get word that there may have been an alleged sex assault, or any other kind of violent crime, we do an investigation. It's very lengthy and very detailed. At that time, we determine if something actually occurred, and if something did, legal actions are taken. And even though the cases were referred on the same day, they took place over a fifteen-month period. That's almost two years, and considering the number of people we have on this base or any other base, you couldn't characterize that as an epidemic."
To critics who imply that the new cases show the AFA hasn't learned the necessary lessons following the sex scandal last decade, Walrden says, "We have vastly improved our system, and our main emphasis is to protect the alleged victims of these cases. We take any case of this kind, and any other kind of alleged crime, very seriously."
Look below to read the charge sheets pertaining to Claxton, Cressy and Evenson.
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Read more of Julie Jargon's reporting in our "Inside the Air Force Academy" archive.