Statement from Attorney Lisa Banks on Decades of Sexual Assault at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy

December 12, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to today’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing into the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) failure to address decades of sexual assault allegations at its service academy, as well as the concealment of an internal investigation, Lisa Banks issued the below statement calling on the USCG to commit to transparency and hold all perpetrators, past and present, accountable. Banks is the attorney representing Jennifer Yount, Kyra Holmstrup, and Caitlin Maro, three of the witnesses who testified. Yount graduated from the academy in 1981, Maro left the Academy in 2005, and Holmstrup is currently a cadet.

“Today’s hearing raises serious questions about the safety of women (and men) at the Coast Guard Academy, and in the Coast Guard at large. For decades, the Coast Guard has covered up an abhorrent culture of rape, sexual assault and misconduct at its service academy, often at the expense of the physical and mental health of its cadets and service members. It has also failed to discipline many of the alleged perpetrators, with some rising to top roles at the Coast Guard and other military agencies.

“While the Coast Guard claims it has routinely implemented various changes and reforms to address this broken system, the testimony of my clients, spanning a period of almost 50 years, will prove otherwise. We urge Congress and Commandant Fagan to commit to concrete steps to improve oversight, training, and support for survivors; implement clear and survivor-centered investigation processes; and hold all perpetrators, past and present, accountable. Coast Guard Academy cadets need the same protections as other members of our military. It is time to right the ship.”

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