ROTC Staffer Under Investigation for Sexual Harassment
Is there a systemic problem of sexual harassment or even assault in the ROTC program at the University of Wyoming?
A University of Wyoming ROTC civilian staffer is under cadet command investigation for sexually harassing a junior cadet.
Another unrelated sexual assault case from 2015 is being investigated by the Albany County District Attorney's office.
And a third case of sexual harassment from 2015 resulted in the firing of an ROTC staff member.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas W. Haas, who has served as department chair and professor of military science for ROTC since June 2016, said as far as any allegations against ROTC staffers, he was unable to comment. Haas said the UW ROTC places safety of students as a top priority and that any complaints will be thoroughly investigated.
We have learned from a source closely involved in the military that a cadet victim was hospitalized after an alleged suicide attempt Thursday, January 26.
Haas said not to assume causation or relation between the suicide attempt and the harassment allegations.
Haas said ROTC has a Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, program in which all cadre and cadets are trained annually. Haas said there are many different categories of cadre and cadets and they each have their own avenues to pursue a sexual assault or harassment complaint.
As far as civilian authorities being involved in sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, Haas said it depends on the category of cadet or cadre. The category would determine what channel was proper and cadet command would look into it as well.
Since the staffer involved is reportedly a civilian, that would imply civilian law enforcement would become involved.
Haas said he was aware of a formal 2015 sexual harassment case involving an ROTC staffer that occurred before he was with the UW ROTC. Haas said that investigation has been concluded and the staffer had been relieved of responsibilities with the ROTC.
Albany County District Attorney Peggy Trent confirmed that the D.A.’s office has a separate sexual assault case from 2015 that is still open concerning ROTC. Trent said the D.A’s office prosecutes criminal statues but that sexual harassment is not a criminal statute. She said though that sexual harassment may be involved in a sexual assault case. Trent said the D.A.’s office cannot discuss the 2015 case in any detail since it is currently open and the D.A is planning to pursue charges.
We will update you as information becomes available.