- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2020

The number of reported sexual assault cases at U.S. military academies jumped by 32% last academic year, military officials said Thursday in a sweeping new report.

The study found 149 reports of sexual assault involving a cadet or midshipman in the 2018-2019 year, compared to 117 reports from the previous year.

“Our academies produce our future leaders. At every turn, we must drive out misconduct in place of good order and discipline,” said Elizabeth Van Winkle, executive director of the Pentagon’s Office of Force Resiliency. “Our data last year, and the findings from this years’ report, reflect the progress we have made in some areas, and the significant work that remains. We will not falter in our efforts to eliminate these behaviors from our Academies and to inculcate our expectation that all who serve are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect.”

The data were compiled through focus groups with 292 cadets, midshipmen, faculty and staff, officials said.

The Pentagon also cautioned against reading too much into the statistics.

“This should not be interpreted as an increase in crime rate, as the next prevalence survey won’t be conducted until the next academic year,” the Defense Department said in a statement. “The increase in reporting cannot be interpreted until next year’s prevalence survey, which estimates rates of unwanted sexual contact.”

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