3 Air Force cadets face sexual assault charges

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force Academy says three cadets have been charged with unrelated sexual assaults over the past 15 months, just weeks after the Colorado institution released a report showing a rise in such cases from the previous year.

The cases are unrelated and the commanders recommended the charges at this time "due to the near simultaneous completion of each individual investigation," said Col. Tamra Rank, the Academy's vice superintendent, in a statement.

The cadets were identified as Stephan H. Claxton, Kyle A. Cressy and Robert M. Evenson Jr. Their hometowns were not released. Academy officials said the cadets were not available for comment.

Claxton and Cressy are attending classes and Evenson is on casual status, a category usually used for cadets awaiting another assignment.

Hearings are expected this month or next month.

DOD: Reported sexual assaults up at 3 academies

Claxton faces four charges. He is accused of sexual contact with a cadet without the cadet's permission, striking and choking a cadet and trying to undress a female cadet who was "substantially incapacitated," a term that was not explained in charging sheets released by the school.

Claxton, a junior, is also charged with under-age drinking.

Cressy faces two charges accusing him of sexual contact with a female cadet who was "substantially incapacitated." He is a senior.

Evenson, a senior, faces three charges, including sexual contact with a female cadet "by using power or strength or restraint to her person sufficient that she could not avoid or escape." He is also accused with helping a female cadet with an honor code case in exchange for a dating relationship and sexual favors, and of dating a cadet of a lower rank.

It was unclear how many cadets were allegedly assaulted.

A Defense Department annual report released last month said 33 sexual assaults were reported at the Air Force Academy in the 2010-11 academic year, up from 20 the previous year. Academy officials said five of the reports in 2010-11 were for incidents that occurred prior to military service.