UNITED STATES NEWS

3 Air Force cadets charged with sexual assault

Jan 6, 2012, 3:50 PM

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) – The Air Force Academy said three cadets have been charged with unrelated sexual assaults, just weeks after the Colorado institution released a report showing a rise in such cases from the previous year.

The commanders recommended the charges at this time “due to the near simultaneous completion of each individual investigation,” said Col. Tamra Rank, the Academy’s vice superintendent, in a statement.

The cadets _ Stephan H. Claxton, Kyle A. Cressy and Robert M. Evenson Jr. _ are not incarcerated. Their hometowns were not released. The cadets were not available for comment, academy officials said.

Claxton and Cressy are attending classes and Evenson is on casual status, a category usually used for cadets awaiting another assignment.

Hearings are expected by next month.

Claxton is charged with four counts. He is accused of sexual contact with a cadet without the cadet’s permission, striking and choking a cadet and trying to undress a female cadet who was “substantially incapacitated,” a term that was not explained in charging sheets released by the school. Claxton, a junior, is also charged with under-age drinking.

Cressy’s two charges accuse him of sexual contact with a female cadet who was “substantially incapacitated.” He is a senior.

The three charges against Evenson, a senior, include sexual contact with a female cadet “by using power or strength or restraint to her person sufficient that she could not avoid or escape.” He is also accused of helping a female cadet with an honor code case in exchange for a dating relationship and sexual favors, and of dating a cadet of a lower rank.

It was unclear how many cadets reported that they were assaulted.

A Defense Department annual report released last month said 33 sexual assaults were reported at the Air Force Academy in the 2010-2011 academic year, up from 20 the previous year. However, five of the reports in 2010-2011 happened before the cadets began their military service.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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3 Air Force cadets charged with sexual assault