A U.S. military shaken by the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus and the investigation of its top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, announced Wednesday that one of the largest sex scandals in its history has widened, enveloping at least eight commanders and nearly 50 possible victims.
The Air Force released its report on the scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where members of the Air Force go through basic training. Investigations of at least 25 military training instructors have led to charges against 11, and have resulted in five convictions, from rape to inappropriate relationships with recruits. Two commanding officers have been removed, and Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, said at a press conference Wednesday that six more have received "disciplinary action."
Chief of Air Force Safety Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, who conducted the investigation, found evidence of a weakness in safeguards, leadership and accountability at Lackland, leading to an "ever-present" abuse of power, according to a Department of Defense statement.
"This report necessarily focuses on the few who violated a sacred trust and broke faith with fellow airmen everywhere," Woodward wrote in the report, which Rice said includes 46 recommendations formed from interviews and surveys of some 18,000 service members. The Air Force said it is implementing 45 of the recommendations, including a required target of 25 percent female instructors, according to Reuters.
Rice described the military's basic training environment as "highly susceptible to the abuse of power," and ordered the establishment of a Military Training Oversight Council, chaired by a three-star general.
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