With 31 female recruits accusing a dozen instructors at Lackland Air Force Base of sexual misconduct over a two-and-a-half year period, the Air Force is launching an independent probe of its nationwide training practices, reports the Wall Street Journal. Six instructors at the base have been charged with an array of crimes from having an improper relationship to rape. One has already pleaded guilty to having a relationship with a subordinate, while the others have pleaded not guilty or have not yet entered pleas.
"We are all committed to doing everything possible to investigate those allegations, to take care of the victims, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to fix any institutional problems that may have facilitated this completely unacceptable behavior," says Air Force Gen. Edward Rice, who adds that the problem appears "localized." But a director at the Service Women's Action Network says the sexual misconduct charges illustrate a wider failing. "It's a problem in the command," he says. "It's not just a bad apple. You have a climate that allows these folks to think they can perpetrate these kinds of crimes against trainees with impunity."