Looking Beyond the 2003 Scandal:

The Air Force Academy commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Susan Desjardins, told lawmakers at the June 27 hearing (see above) on sexual assault issues within the military that the academy “has come a long way … since the events of 2003 and before.” She noted that the school had sought the help of outside experts. Desjardins, who graduated from the academy in 1980 in the first class to admit women, admitted that when the scandal broke in 2003, she and other graduates considered it “an absolute crisis,” and she said the Air Force leadership acted “aggressively” to confront the problem. (Read her written statement here.) Former academy cadet Beth Davis in her testimony criticized the chain of command for covering up and blaming the victims. She said some academy officers had “created false, misleading, and incomplete original crime reports and … persecuted, libeled, slandered, and ruined our careers in the Air Force just for reporting these crimes.” Desjardins said that she has “a lot of confidence” in her new staff and maintained that now victim care is “first priority.”