Senators Seeks Investigation into Academy’s Handling of Sexual Assaults

Two US senators are asking the Pentagon’s Special Counsel and Inspector General to investigate allegations that Air Force Academy officials retaliated against an Air Force investigator and a cadet who disclosed sexual assaults by academy football players. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) sent letters to the two watchdog offices urging independent investigations of what they called “very serious allegations of wrongdoing” at the academy. The letters came in response to a letter to members of Congress from Air Force SSgt. Brandon Enos who said his superiors at the academy shut down his investigation, took away his investigator’s badge, and said he would be kicked out of the service. Academy officials also expelled Cadet Eric Thomas, who had worked as an informant for Enos in his 2013 investigation, which led to successful prosecution of several academy players. Thomas was expelled for leaving base without permission and being present during underage drinking, but Thomas said he was punished for his role in Enos’ investigation. The academy has denied those claims. (See also Academy Snitches and Air Force Academy Launches Investigation into Institutional Culture.)