Scandal-filled Air Force Academy sexual assault office 'derelict' in care for victims, report says

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (The Gazette) - Infighting, mishandled cases, questionable record keeping, alleged office romances and a lurid rumor mill led an Air Force Academy investigator to find that the school's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was "derelict in the performance" of duties and bungled care for victims.

The scaldingly critical report called for the firing of the office's former boss, Teresa Beasley, and revealed an office atmosphere that witnesses compared to a toxic high school.

The 560-page report released to The Gazette under the federal Freedom of Information Act shows that some victims were ignored - this as the office's victim advocates filed claims and counterclaims of inappropriate conduct against each other.

"The amount of evidence demonstrating a lack of competency and ability in delivering professional victim care is overwhelming," the investigation found. "It wouldn't be feasible to try to rehash - or even summarize - all the issues and concerns borne out by witness testimony."

The office is the academy's first line of care for victims of sexual assault and also provides training to the school's staff and cadets in a bid to prevent sexual assaults.

The academy had 45 sexual assault reports in 2016, more than the Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy combined.

But the new report said record keeping by the sexual assault office was so shoddy that investigators now question whether the number of sexual assaults reported in the last 10 years is even accurate.

The report substantiated three claims against Beasley, who has since resigned:

- Failure to "effectively manage" the office.

- Spreading rumors about personnel.

- Lack of competency that jeopardized the "delivery of professional victim advocacy."

Beasley couldn't immediately be contacted for comment. A telephone number for Beasley was no longer in use.

Three other claims investigated in the report were redacted, with the academy citing privacy concerns.

The probe was ordered in May by former academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, who told investigators to examine the "culture and climate" of the office. Johnson also ordered an investigation of "unprofessional relationships and inappropriate comments of a sexual nature" in the office.

The academy later suspended four of six office employees.

The school in recent months has appointed an interim director for the office and has hired new staffers to augment and airmen pulled in to fulfill its obligations.

The office's interim leader, Kimberly Dickman, said the pick-up team came together from bases around the Pikes Peak region and has focused on caring for victims while the tumult that followed the report and Beasley's departure subsides.

"The team that's in there now is highly qualified," Dickman said.

Click to read the full article by our partners at The Gazette.