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Senate launches inquiry into Coast Guard sexual assaults

CNN – The US Senate has launched a formal inquiry into the Coast Guard’s handling of a secret, yearslong investigation that found rapes, sexual assaults and other serious misconduct at the agency’s academy had been ignored and, at times, covered up by high-ranking officials.

Dubbed “Operation Fouled Anchor,” the investigation was kept confidential by Coast Guard leaders until CNN started making inquiries into the report.

In the wake of CNN’s reporting, Coast Guard officials briefed congressional leaders about the investigation, which substantiated dozens of assaults and found that some of the accused had ascended to top roles at the Coast Guard and other military agencies.

Many of the alleged victims, meanwhile, left the academy after reporting their assaults and had spent decades coping with severe negative effects to their careers and mental and physical health, according to the report and interviews with former academy cadets.

Lawmakers in the Capitol were outraged that the Coast Guard had withheld the findings from them for years.

“The public deserves to know why so many reported cases of sexual assault and harassment were allowed to go uninvestigated for so many years … ” 

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, where the academy is based, called the suppression of the report “probably the most shameful, disgraceful incident of cover-up of sexual assault that I have seen in the United States military ever.”

“This delay in disclosure raises serious questions about why information about the conduct of USCG personnel and safety of cadets was withheld for so long,” Blumenthal, chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations wrote in a letter, along with ranking member Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

The letter was sent this week to US Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan, notifying her of the subcommittee’s inquiry …

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