Pentagon Eyes Cadet Rape Claims

Silhouette of woman who says she was raped 20 years ago by an air force cadet upper classman.
Nearly two decades after graduating from the Air Force Academy, fear and shame are still with her.

"I never want to see another woman go through what I went through," she says.

As CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reports, the woman was a cadet, raped by an upperclassman, and she says an academy officer told her not to report it.

"His response was, if you want to pursue this, your career is over at the academy," she says.

Today, the chill at the Air Force Academy are the allegations of at least 20 current or former women cadets who say they were raped or sexually assaulted by male cadets and that officials turned a cold shoulder.

"I feel totally disappointed. That's unacceptable. That's not the behavior we condone or support," says Academy Superintendent John Dallager.

"I want some long-term solutions in place so this doesn't keep re-occurring," said Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo. speaking at the Pentagon.

Congressional outrage at the scandal has launched a Pentagon investigation into the charges and even made it a personal cause.

"I have two daughters in the Air Force and another one that will start ROTC next year, so you're looking at a dad who has little tolerance for this stuff," says Gen. John Jumper, the Air Force Chief of Staff.

For a decade, there's been a system in place at the academy to report sexual assaults. And while academy officials were aware of scores of reports, less than two dozen were looked into. Some cadets were dismissed. But no cadet was ever court-martialed for sexual assault.

"We don't intend to sweep this under the rug. We take it very seriously," says Dallager.

Dallager says the academy is safe for women cadets but concedes damage will be difficult to repair. He says it can never be made right for people, and he is very regretful of that.

But still, the victims are concerned it will continue to be swept under the rug.

"I'm very skeptical about the Pentagon investigating the Air Force Academy," says one victim.

She said she went there to learn to serve her country, and if that means testifying against those who taught the Air Force "honor code," she will.