Thursday, November 23, 2017

Air Force general calls sex assaults a 'cancer'

RECOMMENDED READING


WASHINGTON — Likening sexual assault in the Air Force's ranks to "a cancer," the service's top officer resolved Wednesday to tackle the problem by screening personnel more carefully and putting an end to bad behavior such as binge drinking that can lead to misconduct.

But Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, underscored the challenge by telling a House oversight committee that the service recorded a disturbing number of reports of sexual assault last year, even as it worked to curb misconduct in the wake of a sex scandal at its training headquarters in Texas. Dozens of young female recruits and airmen at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio were victimized by instructors who sexually harassed, improperly touched or raped them.

Most difficult, Welsh said, is transforming a culture in which victims are often reluctant to report what happened because of guilt, shame or fear they won't be believed.

"Why, on what was undoubtedly the worst day of a victim's life, did they not turn to us for help?" Welsh said during testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. "We are missing something fundamental in the human-to-human interaction that will allow them to feel safe enough to come to us and report."

The scandal at Lackland, now known as Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, continues to unfold nearly two years after the first victim came forward. All U.S. airmen report to Lackland for basic training. The initial results of an Air Force investigation released in November described abuses of power by instructors who took advantage of a weak oversight system to prey on young recruits.

So far, six instructors have been convicted in courts-martial on charges including adultery and rape.

Comments

Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order

Pakistani authorities acting on a court order have released a U.S.-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack.
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Mississippi stuns No. 16 Mississippi State 31-28 in Egg Bowl

Mississippi stuns No. 16 Mississippi State 31-28 in Egg Bowl

Jordan Ta'amu threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, Jordan Wilkins ran for two scores and Mississippi upset No. 16 Mississippi State 31-28
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Suspected Pakistani militant wanted by US has been released from house arrest on court order

Suspected Pakistani militant wanted by US has been released from house arrest on court order
Updated: 9 minutes ago

China reports breaking up gang that moved $3 billion abroad

Chinese police say they have broken up a crime gang that smuggled $3 billion out of the country, evading foreign exchange controls by using bank accounts opened with stolen identity cards
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Redskins beat Giants 20-10 in turkey of a Thanksgiving game

Redskins beat Giants 20-10 in turkey of a Thanksgiving game

Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-6, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Bomb kills top police officer, his guard in Pakistan

Pakistani police say a powerful bomb has struck a vehicle carrying the deputy provincial chief in the northwest, killing him and his guard
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Texas trooper killed during traffic stop; suspect in custody

A Texas trooper was shot and killed during a traffic stop in East Texas on Thanksgiving.
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Saints can run and play D, Rams have a dynamic offense

Saints can run and play D, Rams have a dynamic offense

Suppose you were told the New Orleans Saints could run the ball and play defense, and Drew Brees was still their quarterback. It's true.
Updated: 19 minutes ago
UConn pulls away late to knock off Oregon 71-63

UConn pulls away late to knock off Oregon 71-63

Terry Larrier scored 18 points, Alterique Gilbert and Jalen Adams both added 16 points each, and Connecticut knocked off Oregon 71-63 in the opening round of the PK80 Invitational
Updated: 25 minutes ago

Chinese authorities look into kindergarten abuse claims

Chinese authorities are investigating allegations that children attending a kindergarten in Beijing run by a U.S.-listed company have been abused and molested
Updated: 1 hour ago