Sexual assault cases continue to rise at U.S. military academies

December 22, 2012 9:50 am 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 — The number of sexual assault reports increased 23 percent year on year at U.S. military academies, said a report released by the Department of Defense (DOD) on Friday.

The Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies showed that reports of sexual assaults at the academies continued to rise this year. A total of 80 cases of sexual assault were reported during the 2011-2012 academic year, up 23 percent over the previous academic year.

The report combines self-assessments by each academy with a biennial anonymous survey of cadets and midshipmen.

"Overall, the number of sexual assault reports at the academies has been on an upward trend since academic year 2008," said Gary Patton, director of the DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has called for "a strong and immediate response" after the annual report indicated that sexual harassment and assault remains a persistent problem at the nation's military academies.

"These crimes and abhorrent behavior are incompatible with the core values we require of our armed forces' future officers," Panetta said.

He also directed service chiefs to review their respective academies' programs and identify new ways of sexual assault and harassment prevention. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAM/PJN

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