1.9.16 | Lolita C. Baldor
Reports of sexual assaults at the three military academies surged by more than 50 percent in the 2014-15 school year, and complaints of sexual harassment also spiked, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
A senior defense official says the sharp increases were due largely to students' growing confidence in the reporting system and expanded awareness programs that over the past several years have included training, videos and information sessions for both students and leaders. The programs have been aimed at making victims more aware of the reporting process and more comfortable seeking help.
But the dramatic increases raise nagging questions about whether criminal assaults and harassment are on the rise or if the numbers actually reflect a growing willingness of victims to come forward.
According to report documents reviewed by the AP, there were 91 reported sexual assaults over the last school year at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado - compared to 59 during the 2013-14 school year.