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Women sue military academies over handling of sexual assaults

By Published: April 20, 2012

Two women are asking a court to force the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy to improve their response to rapes and sexual assaults, The Associated Press reported.

The women say they were raped by classmates at the institutions.

The lawsuit, filed in New York, accuses the military schools of ignoring sexual harassment and failing to prosecute cadets who commit sexual assault, AP reported.

In response to the suit, a Naval Academy spokesman told AP the school's sexual assault response program is among the strongest in the nation, and a West Point spokeswoman said every report of sexual abuse is taken "extremely seriously."

A January report by the Defense Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office said reports of sexual assaults at the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md., doubled in 2011, but officials could not determine if the increase was due to more incidents or to increased willingness by victims to report assaults.

Eight Navy and Marine Corps women filed a lawsuit against military leadership in March that makes similar accusations, saying the military fosters a culture of sexual harassment and punishes those who report the abuse. That suit is still pending.

Source: The Associated Press

Cadets stand in formation at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
U.S. AIR FORCE

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