Advocacy group demands congressional hearing on Lackland sex-assault scandal
Published: July 11, 2012
WASHINGTON – Members of the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders are demanding Congressional hearings on the Lackland Air Force Base sexual assault scandal, saying that it shows military leaders haven’t done enough to stop rape and abuse.
“The military has proven that it is unable or unwilling to protect our defenders,” said Nancy Parrish, president of the group. “Our elected officials must do more to end the crisis.”
So far, 31 women have reported being raped or sexually assaulted by male instructors while they were trainees at Lackland. Group officials said such incidents undermine readiness, unit cohesion and morale, along with traumatizing victims for life.
Protect Our Defenders has also launched an online petition calling for congressional hearings by the House Armed Services Committee.
That document includes comments from Paula Coughlin-Puopolo, one of the women at the center of the Navy Tailhook sexual assault scandal in 1991, who says that “the epidemic of criminal sexual assault and rape within our armed services has only gotten worse” since then.
House committee leaders are planning a private briefing with service officials later this month, but have not scheduled a public hearing.