U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, August 13, 2014.
U.S. Air
Force Academy in Colorado Springs, August 13, 2014. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)

Reports of sexual assault at the U.S. Air Force Academy nearly doubled in the 2014-2015 academic year over the previous term amid efforts across the military to address the high-profile problem.

There were 49 accusations at the prestigious college over the 25 reported in 2013-2014, according to a Department of Defense study issued Friday.

The Pentagon also found sex assault reports were up at the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy, though only slightly.

The Air Force Academy rise represented the second highest number of reports of sex assault in eight years. Only the 2011-2012 school year saw more accusations when there were 51 reports of sex assault.

A senior defense official told The Associated Press the sharp increases were due largely to students' growing confidence in the reporting system and expanded awareness programs that over the past several years.


"We are encouraged by the steps the academies have taken to eliminate sexual assault," said Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols, director of the defense department's sexual assault prevention and response office, in a statement.

Nichols said military's three academies are taking new approaches to improve both respect and safety of cadets and midshipmen.

"These future leaders are being armed with the knowledge that military units operate best in climates of dignity and respect — where sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other inappropriate behaviors and attitudes are not tolerated," she added.

The Pentagon noted official crime reports only represent a portion of the sex assaults that occur. A 2014 survey of cadets and midshipmen showed that rates of sexual assault had decreased significantly for women and trended downward for men, according to the military.

In 2016, another Congressionally-required survey will occur.

Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @JesseAPaul

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.