Crime

Stephan Claxton, Air Force Cadet: Up to nine years in military prison for sex crimes

The scandal at the Air Force Academy that followed in the wake of "The War Within," then-Westword staffer Julie Jargon's 2003 feature about female cadets victimized by sexual assault, led to changes at the institution intended to demonstrate that supervisors take the problem seriously. But these alterations haven't prevented such crimes from taking place.

Case in point: The sentencing of cadet Stephan Claxton for two separate incidents of sexual misconduct.

As we reported in the January post above, the main allegations against Claxton, made public at the same time as sex-related counts against two other cadets, date back to incidents in March and November 2011 sketched out in the official charge sheet on view below. In the first, the AFA junior was said to have placed a cadet's hand on his penis while engaging in underage drinking. In the second, he was 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.

In March, Brigadier General Richard Clark recommended that Claxton face a court martial for his actions. And last night at about 9:30 p.m., according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, a panel of seven Air Force officers found him guilty regarding two of the three charges against him -- the ones pertaining to the incidents described above. However, he was cleared in a third matter that allegedly took place in a hotel room circa May of last year.

Even without a third conviction, Claxton could be going away for a long stretch. A military spokesperson told the Gazette he faces up to nine years in a military prison.

Here's the aforementioned charge sheet against Claxton.

Claxton Charge Sheet

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Read more of Julie Jargon's reporting in our "Inside the Air Force Academy" archive.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts