A former Air Force Academy official claims the academy has been covering up sexual assaults

CBS News has begun reporting on its six-month investigation into how the United States Air Force Academy has handled sexual assault cases. In the second segment from the report, which aired on Tuesday, December 12th, a former Air Force Academy official claimed the academy is responsible for covering up sexual assault cases.

CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell sat down with Teresa Beasley, the academy’s former top official on sexual assault prevention and response. O’Donnell asked Beasley if she thought the Air Force Academy supports those who report sexual assault.

"I would have to say absolutely not. No," Beasley said. "I think deep down they really don't believe that sexual assaults are happening. I think they're minimizing the severity of them."

Beasley, who has worked with sexual assault survivors for 30 years, stated that she believes some commanders at the Air Force Academy think cadets are simply making up sexual assault claims. She said that she’s heard commanders question the timing of the reports or wonder why victims hadn’t stepped forward sooner.

Furthermore, Beasley also revealed to O’Donnell that she believes the Air Force Academy has covered up details regarding two violent attacks from December 2014 and January 2015. In these instances, two female cadets were attacked while on the public biking and running trail behind the academy.

The details about these attacks weren’t reported until recently.

Beasley confirmed to CBS News that these were violent sexual assaults and that both cadets were hit in the head during the separate attacks. Both cadets were administered rape kits, but their cases were quickly closed by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

"OSI told me that they didn't believe her, that they think it was a date that went wrong," said Beasley. "And I said...how did she get hit in the head? And they said, 'Well, she'll have to tell you that.' And somehow...they never investigated it. About a month later we had a second incident. She wasn't believed either. They said she was making it up. And when I asked why, [OSI] said because her timelines don't match."

The academy also deleted 16 cases from 2014 and 2015 when victims refused to sign a 2910 form, which the academy uses to document assault claims. Those who refused to sign had experienced negativity from their peers and leaders, and therefore did not want their case to be on record. Those 16 cases were simply never investigated.

Beasley has come under fire for disagreeing with the way the academy has dealt with these reports. She retired after learning that the academy was going to fire her. They have since released an in-depth report into Beasley regarding her work at the academy.

"You have to stand up to people who mistreat others and who oppress others. And I did that. And they didn't like it," Beasley told O'Donnell.

You can watch the full report on CBS News’s site.

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