Air Force cadets face sex-assault charges

Jan. 6, 2012 at 8:54 AM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Three cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs were charged with sexual assault in three cases at the academy in a 15-month period, officials said.

The charges, announced Thursday, will be referred to a hearing officer who will review evidence in the cases and advise the academy's superintendent about whether a court-martial is warranted, The (Colorado Springs) Gazette reported.

"Each case will be adjudicated independently and the accused in each case is presumed innocent until proven guilty," Col. Tamra Rank, the academy's vice superintendent, said in an e-mailed statement. "We take these allegations seriously. Sexual misconduct is a particularly egregious offense and we have a zero-tolerance policy in the Air Force."

Charging documents obtained by The Gazette indicated the alleged incidents occurred in 2010 and 2011.

One cadet, Stephan H. Claxton, faces a charge of attempted rape in November and also was charged for a March incident in which he is accused of forcing a cadet to touch his genitals. He also was accused of underage drinking.

Cadet Kyle A. Cressy is charged in a May incident in which prosecutors allege he had sex with a woman who was "substantially incapacitated," a term The Gazette says the academy has used to describe intoxication.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. was charged with raping a cadet in the spring of 2010 and with violating regulations by maintaining a relationship with a female freshman and abusing his position as a "cadet non-commissioned officer for honor cases" to gain sexual favors from a female cadet.

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