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Former Air Force Academy cadets talk about sexual assaults; reports rise at Wright Patt

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 8:06 AM

CBSNews' Norah O'Donnell talked to two women who were former Air Force cadets who left the academy after reporting acts of sexual assaults.

More than a dozen current and former United States Air Force Academy cadets in Colorado Springs told CBS News they reported sexual assaults only to experience retaliation by their peers and their commanders.

“CBS This Morning” traveled to the Air Force Academy during a six-month investigation into sexual assault in the military. The academy is where America’s best and brightest go to become commissioned officers in the Air Force.

The Dayton Daily News previously reported sexual assaults at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base have increased over the past four years, and nearly doubled between 2015 and 2016, the Department of Defense reported.

Between 2013 and 2016, 83 reports of sexual assault occurred at the Miami Valley base, which is the largest single site-employer in Ohio with a workforce of about 27,000 employees, Pentagon data shows.

The data, which does not include cases from this year, was disclosed as high-profile political and entertainment figures have been accused of sexual assault or harassment in recent weeks.

The Defense Department data is the number of incidents reported to a sexual assault response coordinator or military authorities at a base. According to the Pentagon, an assault could have occurred at another location, prior to a victim joining the military, or while the victim was deployed, on leave, or temporally on duty elsewhere.

Don Christensen, a retired Air Force chief prosecutor, said in his more than two decades of military judicial experience the “vast majority” of reported assaults occurred at or near the installation where it was first recorded.

At Wright-Patterson, 19 incidents were reported in fiscal year 2013, 17 cases in both 2014 and 2015, and 30 cases in 2016, the data showed.

“We cannot identify any significant trends in the increase,” Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Marie Vanover said in an email late Monday afternoon. “While each case has its own unique attribute, the number is not indicative of the number of assaults that occurred at Wright-Patt. There are many factors that go into the numbers; including some cases accounting for more than one incident.”

RELATED: 32 reports of sexual assault at Wright-Patt AFB in four-year period

Several Air Force installations, including the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Kadena Air Base in Japan, and Ramstein Air Base in Germany, reported higher sexual assault cases than Wright-Patterson in 2016.

“Although the numbers for Wright-Patt are low in comparison to other places, they are still too high and show we have a long way to go to create a safe work environment in the military,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, chairman of the House Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus.

Both Wright-Patterson and Kadena saw a near doubling in the number of incidents reported between 2015 and 2016, data shows. Kadena reported 19 cases in 2015 and 37 in 2016.

Air Force wide, the service branch reported 821 cases in 2013; 1,003 in 2014; 1,009 in 2015; and 1,043 in 2016.

Among joint bases, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas reported the most incidents in 2016 with 211. Naval Station Norfolk, Va., had the highest number of incidents among military bases that year with 270, data shows.

The U.S. military recorded 6,172 sexual assault incidents in 2016, a 1.5 percent increase compared to the prior year.

Since 2016, Wright-Patterson has put in place “new mandatory awareness and bystander intervention programs” to promote individual responsibility to say or do something when they witness an “inappropriate situation,” and has doubled the number of outreach meetings to increase awareness and prevention of sexual assault, Vanover said in an email.

“We’re dedicated to fostering an environment of respect by standing against anyone who commits sexual assault and supporting survivors of these horrible acts, whenever and wherever it has occurred,” she added.

Christensen, president of the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, said education to reduce sexual assault can be helpful, “but it’s not going to eliminate the problem and the inability to hold people accountable, which is really a problem here, is thwarting their efforts to reduce sexual assault.”

In a statement, Wright-Patterson said “effectively responding to sexual assaults is not only critical to the health, morale and welfare of our Airmen — civilian, officer and enlisted — but, ultimately essential to Air Force readiness.”

It added: “Respect for all is imperative and success of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program relies on all Airmen standing against those who would commit sexual assault and supporting those who have been victimized by these heinous acts. We are committed to providing support to anyone affected by sexual assault.”

The Pentagon categorizes sexual assaults into restricted and unrestricted categories. A restricted category means a victim can receive medical and mental health services, but there is no investigation of the alleged incident, Christensen said.

An unrestricted report allows an investigation to proceed.

Based on those categories, Wright-Patterson reported 12 unrestricted and seven restricted reports in 2013; 10 unrestricted and seven restricted reports in 2014; 11 unrestricted and six restricted reports in 2015; and 20 unrestricted and 10 restricted reports in 2016, according to the Defense Department.

RELATED: Turner bill would expand military sexual assault victims’ rights

Last year, the military reported more than 4,600 unrestricted reports of sexual assault, which was an all-time high, according to Christensen. “It shows that there’s still a big problem there,” he said.

In a statement, he added: “Even in the rare cases where survivors report, 98 percent of the time their assailant is not convicted.”

The Defense Department reported prevalence rates of sexual assault decreased from 6.1 percent of active-duty female service members in 2012 to 4.3 percent in 2016, and from 1.2 percent of active-duty male service members in 2012 to 0.6 percent in 2016.

Sexual assault remains under reported even as the percentage of people who notified authorities of incidents has increased. Prior to fiscal year 2014, the Defense Department said 15 percent or fewer military victims reported sexual assault to military authorities every year. In 2016, the Pentagon estimated 32 percent of victims reported an incident to the military.

Christensen noted the high number of restricted reports in military combat zones could show victims are fearful of reporting incidents.

In Afghanistan, for example, 10 victims filed unrestricted reports while 15 victims filed restricted reports in 2016.

“That tells me men and women in a combat zone don’t feel safe there” to potentially pursue prosecution of a case, he said.

Shooter who killed man during sex act to be sentenced

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 4:15 PM

UPDATE @ 7:49 a.m. (Jan. 23):

Sentencing is scheduled Tuesday for the man convicted of killing a man while a teen performed a sex act on the victim.

Michael J. Wood Jr, 19, is set for sentencing at 9:30 a.m.

Wood killed Elroy Facey on Hoover Avenue in May 2017.

NATIONAL NEWS: 7.9 magnitude earthquake off coast of Alaska

INITIAL REPORT (Jan. 18):

The man accused of shooting a 41-year-old man, ultimately leading to his death, was convicted of murder and felonious assault.

Michael J. Wood Jr., 19, of Dayton, shot and killed Elroy Facey on Hoover Avenue on May 3, 2017, according to prosecutors.

“The victim attempted to run away, but the adult defendant chased the victim and shot him a second time,” the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said in a prepared statement.

Elexus Dawkins, 17, was convicted of murder in October 2017 and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for her role in the shooting.

Wood and Dawkins planned to rob Facey, prosecutors said.

Dawkins was in a vehicle performing a sex act on Facey when Wood shot him, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Sentencing for Wood is scheduled for Jan. 23 at 9:30 a.m.

Rough winter brings potholes ‘worse than normal’ to Miami Valley

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:11 AM

Local officials say potholes are worse this year than the past two winters. A Dayton crew patches a pothole on Gettysburg Ave. MARSHALL GORBY
Local officials say potholes are worse this year than the past two winters. A Dayton crew patches a pothole on Gettysburg Ave. MARSHALL GORBY

The worst winter weather in recent years also has spawned the worst potholes on area roads in some time.

“Some counties are saying the potholes are worse this year,” said Ohio Department of Transportation public information officer Mandi Dillon in a statement.

Fred Stovall, director of Dayton public works, said there are more potholes than the past two winters. Those previous winters were milder and resulted in much fewer potholes, he said.

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“We’ve seen colder temperatures, freezing temperatures, snow and salt in the street. That all gets in the cracks and makes (conditions for potholes) worse,” Stovall said.

Potholes cost American drivers about $3 billion a year in vehicle repairs, or $15 billion over the last five years, a AAA study revealed, according to AAA spokeswoman Kara Hitchens.

The cost to repair a vehicle can vary because of tire size and the extent of the damage. Jason Brown, store manager at AAA Auto and Tire store in Huber Heights, said replacing a tire can cost anywhere from $80 to $250. And replacing an entire wheel can cost more than $200.

“Today alone, I’ve seen five people come in with damage from potholes,” Brown said. “They’re everywhere.”

Riverside City Manager Mark Carpenter said his city has also seen an increase in potholes this winter.

“The potholes are worse than normal, over the top this year,” he said.

TRENDING: Board to rule on Dayton police sergeant accused of lying

Potholes form when water soaks into the pavement, then freezes and expands as temperatures change, according to ODOT press secretary Matt Bruning.

Bruning said ODOT has spent $726,000 on patching potholes statewide so far this year, most of it in recent days. The vast majority of that number is labor costs.

“This season ODOT crews have spent 21,669 hours— the equivalent of two and a half years— just patching potholes,” Bruning said.

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ODOT already this year has used the second highest amount of salt that it has used in the past 10 years, Bruning said. This is usually an indication of how bad the winter is, Bruning said.

“Kudos to our men and women on the roads. They are definitely earning that money they make,” Bruning said of the ODOT crews patching potholes and clearing snow and ice this season.

Local crews are also working every day to patch potholes. Stovall said that the city has 48 hours or two business days, not including weekends, to patch potholes after they are reported.

“This is certainly filling our time. And we haven’t even gotten to the residential streets yet,” Riverside’s Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the city appreciates citizens calling and alerting the service department to potholes in the area.

Stovall agreed, urging Daytonians to call (937) 333-4800 or use Dayton’s smartphone app to report potholes.

Drivers can report potholes to ODOT via an online form or if the pothole needs immediate attention, by alerting the highway patrol.

TRENDING NOW: Local schools find lead in water

Bruning also stressed that ODOT crews prioritize potholes in high traffic areas, like interstate 75 over residential roads.

“Just like when we’re clearing snow and ice, we try and make sure the main roadways get taken care of first, and I think most folks understand that,” Bruning said.

Board to rule on Dayton police sergeant accused of lying

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:27 AM

A city of Dayton board that is reviewing the firing of a female police sergeant accused of lying and falsifying official documents is expected to release its decision soon.

EARLIER: Dayton police sergeant who sued for discrimination is fired

Dayton police Sgt. Tonina Lamanna challenged her termination with the Civil Service Board, claiming it was in retaliation for her filing a federal lawsuit alleging the city and police department engaged in sexual discrimination. 

Lamanna did not knowingly make false statements, said her attorney Vince Pop, but the city was desperate to fire her. 

Dayton police officials claim Lamanna lied multiple times, which they say is unacceptable from a sworn police officer and requires discharge. 

“Dishonesty is incompatible with public trust,” said Mark Ecton, a Dayton assistant police chief, at Lamanna’s civil service hearing. 

MORE: Learn how the chief’s stolen gun is connected to this case

Last month, the Civil Service Board heard testimony from a variety of witnesses from the police and human resources departments about the circumstances that preceded and resulted in Lamanna’s firing on Oct. 3.

Employers to recruit at Springfield job fair

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 8:05 AM


            FILE
FILE

Local employers like CareSource and Assurant will be recruiting in Springfield this Friday.

CareSource Life Services is holding a job fair 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Faith United Methodist Church at 102 W. High St.

RELATED: Dayton Children’s plans career fair

Life coaching, job readiness training and resume support will be available.

Some of the employers who will be there include:

Assurant

CareSource

Interim Healthcare

Mama Rosa’s

Ohio State Highway Patrol

RTA

Vocalink

I-Supply

The Greentree Group

Klosterman Bakery

Securitas