Number of Sex Assaults at West Point Nearly Doubled Last Year
By Mark Moore
New York Post
February 7, 2018
The ?number of sexual assaults at West Point nearly doubled in the last school year, ?the fourth straight year the military academy recorded an increase, a report said Wednesday.
The school in upstate New York had 50 cases in the school year that ended last summer, compared with the 26 during the 2015-2016 school year, the Associated Press reported after reviewing data from the Defense Department.
That rate outpaces sexual assaults at the Naval Academy, which showed an increase from 28 to 29, and the Air Force Academy, which edged up one to 33, over the same period?, the wire service reported.
About 12,000 students are enrolled in the three schools.?
Officials at West Point and the Defense Department said the hike in assaults resulted from stepped-up efforts to encourage victims to come forward.
“I’m very encouraged by the reporting,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, superintendent at West Point, told the ?AP. “I recognize that people are not going to understand” the desire for increased reporting?.?
An anonymous survey released last year showed an uptick in sexual assaults and unwanted sexual contact at all three institutions, with the largest increases coming at the Army and Navy academies.
Caslen said that led West Point officials to reach out to victims.
“When we saw that, we did a complete review of our strategy,” ?he said. “We went after increased reporting.”
One of the actions they took was moving the sexual assault reporting center to a more accessible area on campus that had its own private entrance.
?It used to be housed in a building that handled students facing discipline.
“I’ve been telling them to do that for years,” Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the Pentagon’s sexual assault prevention office?, told the AP?. “Walking into the building where lots of people who are getting in trouble go, that is a real disincentive for people to come forward and make a report.”
W?est Point also loosened reporting restrictions by allowing cadets to report sexual assaults anonymously without filing a formal report.