Sexual Assault Reports Nearly Double At Air Force Academy

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
<p>Cadets head to class on the campus at the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo. </p>
Photo: Air Force Academy campus (file)
Cadets head to class on the campus at the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo.

Some 49 cadets -- 44 women and five men -- filed reports in the 2014-2015 school year, according to a Pentagon report published Friday. That's up from just 25 in the previous academic year. Chart: U.S. Air Force Academy sexual assault reports

The jump at the Air Force Academy accounts for nearly half of the 91 reports filed at all of the military service academies. But military officials say they've been fighting the underreporting of sexual assault. They see the growing number of reports as evidence that their strategy is working.

“We are encouraged by the steps the academies have taken to eliminate sexual assault,” Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols said in a press release. "These future leaders are being armed with the knowledge that military units operate best in climates of dignity and respect – where sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other inappropriate behaviors and attitudes are not tolerated.”

The Pentagon report also praised the Air Force Academy's efforts to root out harassment on its sports teams.

"No such team incidents were reported this year; however, attitudes that support such behavior remain an area of concern," the report said.

The Pentagon says the official crime reports don't reflect every incident that occurs. So every two years, the department conducts a survey to try to form a more complete picture of the issue.

The last survey, released in early 2015, found that one in 10 female cadets at the Air Force Academy reported unwanted sexual contact in the 2013-2014 academic year. The next survey will be conducted this spring.