The U.S. Military Academy saw the number of sexual assaults reported during the last academic year nearly double, according to a new report released by the Department of Defense on Wednesday.
The report, from the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, found there were 50 reports of sexual assaults at the West Point, N.Y., academy, an increase of 24 cases from the 2015-2016 school year.
Across all the service academies, 112 reports of sexual assault were made during the 2016-2017 academic year, compared to 86 reports received during the prior school year.
The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., had 29 reports of sexual assault and 33 reports of sexual assault, respectively.
The number of sexual assaults reported at the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy each increased by one from the 2015-2016 school year.
“The Military Service Academies remain committed to eliminating sexual assault and sexual harassment as part of their overall effort to develop leaders of character,” the report states. “However, the academies are unique environments that require programs tailored to their specific circumstances.”
The report said the three service academies, which collectively have roughly 12,000 students enrolled, have “invested heavily in creating robust sexual assault response systems” over the last decade.
However, it also found there was “program mismanagement” within the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The academy, though, “investigated and took steps” to address these issues.
A Service Academy Gender Relations survey from 2016 found 48 percent of female cadets and midshipmen said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the previous year. Twelve percent of male cadets and midshipmen said they had such experiences.
Twelve percent of women and 2 percent of men said they experienced unwanted sexual contact.
According to the Associated Press, the most recent figures for sexual assault reports mark the fourth consecutive year cases have increased at the U.S. Military Academy.
“I’m very encouraged by the reporting,” Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, told the Associated Press.
Caslen said he recognizes that “people are not going to understand” the positive response to the increase in reporting, but said, “I’ve got the steel stomach to take the criticism.”