The Defense Department’s inspector general on Tuesday announced it will review the Air Force Academy’s troubled sexual assault prevention and response program.
The Office of Inspector General said its evaluation will look at how well the academy’s SAPR office supports cadets who suffer sexual assaults, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations’ responses to and investigation of sexual assaults of cadets.
The IG will also review the mental health support and services, including mental health separations, the academy provides to cadet sexual assault victims, and how well academy leadership supports those cadets.
The academy told Air Force Times that it welcomes the IG’s evaluation.
“We look forward to working with and learning from the DoD IG in their evaluation of all aspects of USAFA’s SAPR program,” academy spokesman Lt. Col. Allen Herritage said. “The findings of this will be an opportunity to increase our ability to prevent this crime and deliver victim care, and we welcome that.”
The academy recently released a scathing report on the SAPR office that blasted the school’s now-fired sexual assault response coordinator, Teresa Beasley, for being “derelict in the performance of [her] duties.”
The six-month investigation concluded she failed to manage her staff or properly address ethical concerns about her staff, spread rumors about personnel, and demonstrated a lack of competency that jeopardized her office’s ability to support sexual assault victims.
Beasley declined to speak to Air Force Times last year. But in an interview with CBS This Morning that aired in December, Beasley fired back, and said she had been made a scapegoat. She said that at the academy, sexual assault victims are ostracized and retaliated against ― in some cases, even by their commanders.
The academy later in December announced it would restructure its SAPR office in the wake of the investigation.
The Pentagon IG launched its evaluation after a December inquiry from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and a January inquiry from Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Tom Udall, D-N.M.
A memo sent to top officials including academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, OSI, the Air Force IG, and the surgeon general of the Air Force said the IG will send follow-up requests for data. The IG also asked for points of contact who are familiar with their agency’s policies, procedures and requirements on supporting cadet sexual assault victims and cadet administrative separations.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.