(NEW LONDON, Conn.) — A secret investigation into alleged sexual abuse at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy uncovered a history of rapes, assaults and other serious misconduct being ignored and, at times, covered up by high-ranking officials, according to a report by CNN.
The findings of the investigation, Operation Fouled Anchor, were kept confidential by the service’s top leadership for several years. Coast Guard officials briefed members of Congress in June after inquiries from CNN, which had reviewed internal documents from the inquiry.
Despite credible evidence of assaults dating back to the late 1980s, investigators found that most of the alleged perpetrators were not criminally investigated at the time. Instead, the incidents were handled as administrative violations, and punishments were as minor as extra homework or lowered class standings.
As a result, some of the accused ascended to top roles at the Coast Guard and other military agencies. In contrast, many alleged victims left the academy after reporting their assaults, ending their hopes of a career in the service.
Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington state, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin sent a letter to the Coast Guard on Friday, questioning why the report had been kept secret, even from those in Congress with oversight authority over the agency. The senators expressed concern that perpetrators may hold security clearances and that two were allowed to honorably retire with their pensions and veterans benefits intact.