Sexual Assault Case

By: AP
By: AP

A criminal case stemming from the Air Force Academy's sexual assault scandal appears to be dead. And questions remain about an alleged victim's therapy records.

An Air Force appeals court has denied prosecutors in Texas more time to appeal a ruling that shelved a rape charge against First Lieutenant Joseph Harding.

The academy graduate was accused of sexually assaulting two female cadets while at the school.

The military judge dropped the rape charge when Colorado Springs therapist Jennifer Bier refused to release records of counseling sessions with one of the accusers. Harding's attorneys say their client's right to a fair trial trumps the woman's right to privacy.

Prosecutors missed the deadline for appealing the ruling on the rape charge. The appeals court says they didn't explain why they didn't file in time.

Michael Briggs is a spokesman at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, where the prosecutors are based. He says the Air Force will ask the court to reconsider the decision.

The Air Force Academy was rocked by a sexual assault scandal in 2003 when dozens of women said they were ignored or punished when they reported assaults. Several investigations were conducted and the school's four top commanders were removed.

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