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Coast Guard Apologizes for Masking Up Lengthy Historical past of Sexual Assault

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The U.S. Coast Guard apologized on Friday for overlaying up scores of documented sexual assault and harassment circumstances that came about on the service’s academy, and failing to correctly examine or self-discipline these accused in dozens extra circumstances over a span of almost 20 years.

The character of the incidents, which came about between 1988 and 2006, was disclosed to the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Committee final week throughout a casual briefing, in accordance with two Democratic senators who despatched a letter on Friday to the Coast Guard’s commandant, Adm. Linda L. Fagan, demanding extra particulars.

In accordance with Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington, the panel’s chairwoman, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, an inner Coast Guard overview referred to as “Operation Fouled Anchor” decided that 62 incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment both came about on the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., or had been dedicated by cadets throughout these years.

These circumstances could solely be a part of the issue. In accordance with the letter, Coast Guard officers informed senators in the course of the briefing that their inner inquiry had yielded one other 42 circumstances of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment that had been by no means correctly investigated. The letter stated officers additionally revealed what Ms. Cantwell and Ms. Baldwin referred to as a historical past of leaders who “discouraged survivors from submitting formal complaints or in any other case disclosing their assaults.”

Coast Guard officers acknowledged the inner investigation, which was carried out between 2014 and 2020, after particulars of the inquiry had been reported by CNN on Friday.

In an announcement, a Coast Guard spokesman apologized to the victims, saying that “by not having taken acceptable motion on the time of the sexual assaults, the Coast Guard could have additional traumatized the victims, delayed entry to their care and restoration, and prevented some circumstances from being referred to the navy justice system for acceptable accountability.”

However the apology was unlikely to extinguish simmering fury on Capitol Hill concerning the scope of the assaults and the secrecy with which the Coast Guard carried out its inner inquiry into them, each of which Ms. Cantwell and Ms. Baldwin stated of their letter had been “disturbing.”

Among the many most troubling revelations they cited was a scarcity of disciplinary motion towards the perpetrators of sexual assaults. Not less than two senior officers discovered to have dedicated such offenses had been allowed to retire with a full pension and unadulterated entry to veterans’ advantages, which they nonetheless preserve. The senators additionally expressed outrage that these two officers had been beneficial to the Senate for promotions whereas they had been below investigation, whereas the allegations towards them had been by no means disclosed.

“It’s unclear what number of different officers had substantiated claims towards them, weren’t disciplined, and remained in positions of management or administration,” Ms. Cantwell and Ms. Baldwin wrote.

The Coast Guard additionally disclosed that officers didn’t replace the personnel information of people who had been decided to have carried out assaults and incidents of harassment, the senators stated, omissions that would have allowed sure people to go background checks they won’t in any other case have cleared.

The senators stated that some had described the Coast Guard’s failure to reveal its investigation as “intentional.”

Congress has been scrutinizing issues of sexual assault within the navy providers for years, not too long ago passing legislation to take decisions about charging perpetrators out of the chain of command. The problem flared anew this yr, after the Pentagon revealed statistics exhibiting student-reported assaults at West Level, the Naval Academy and the Air Drive Academy rose to report ranges within the 2021 educational yr.

Knowledge from the Coast Guard Academy was not included in that report; whereas the Coast Guard is a part of the armed forces, it’s housed on the Homeland Safety Division.

A Coast Guard spokesman stated that the service had made “main enhancements” in how officers examine reviews of sexual assault in recent times, and is “making a tradition to forestall sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

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