Air Force Academy Launches Investigation into Rape, Drugs and Cheating


This weekend, U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson announced she was requesting an investigation into the school’s athletic department over numerous cases of sexual assault, flagrant drug use and academic cheating among cadets.

Through documents obtained during an investigation by The Gazette out of Colorado Springs, it’s clear that Johnson (an alum of the Academy) has a larger problem on her hands than was apparent even after recent arrests. The Gazette reports that at a now-infamous 2011 party, football players specifically set aside a drink for women laced with date rape drugs:

The culture was so wild that academy leaders canceled a planned 2012 sting out of concern that undercover agents and confidential informants at a party wouldn’t be enough to protect women from rape.

After this party, several cadets were expelled from school and a few were sentenced. That same month, the Defense Department reported that 13 more sexual assaults had been reported at the Air Force Academy than the year prior.

In a statement, Johnson said that “past behavior was troubling and suggested certain subcultures that were inconsistent with the Culture of Commitment and Climate of Respect we work hard to uphold at USAFA,” adding that the school has been working to “refocus on our culture and climate,” especially since she was appointed to her position a year prior.

Johnson also said that the school’s athletic leaders have “responded” to her requests, and explained her plan for an Inspector General to probe further into this culture:

Additionally, as part of the new AF-wide Commander’s Inspector General (IG) program, I’ve asked the USAFA IG to start their review of the Mission Elements with the Athletic Department. These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures at the Air Force’s Academy whose climates do not align with our institutional core values.

Johnson cited a video produced by Cadet Athletes Against Sexual Violence (seen above) as a positive example of change among student athletes. “Despite all of our efforts,” she noted, “I expect we’ll still have issues with a few young people who will make poor choices.” But as the Gazette reports, the loss of star athletes has meant big losses for the football team, which had a startlingly bad season last year. Isn’t that just a crying shame.

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