Ahead of Hearing, Committee Releases New Information Showing Sexual Abuse in JROTC Programs is More Widespread than Previously Reported

Nov 16, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 16, 2022)—Today, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, released new information from the Department of Defense (DOD) showing the number of sexual misconduct allegations made against Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) instructors over the last five years to be higher than previously reported.  This new information was obtained during the Committee’s investigation of sexual abuse and misconduct committed by JROTC instructors in schools across the country. 


“The information our Subcommittee is releasing today paints a disturbing picture of how some JROTC instructors are using their positions of authority to exploit and abuse students who have placed their faith and trust in the U.S. military,” said Chairman Lynch.  “Sexual abuse or misconduct committed by a JROTC instructor cannot be tolerated, and our Subcommittee’s investigation is bringing this despicable behavior into greater focus and exposing the urgent need for improved oversight in the JROTC program.  I am committed to working with the Department of Defense and our military services to ensure the safety and well-being of our JROTC cadets, so that they can go on to achieve their dreams and aspirations in civilian or military service to our nation.”


A recent investigation by The New York Times found that during the last five years, prosecutors have brought criminal charges against at least 33 JROTC instructors related to sexual misconduct or abuse involving students.  However, in response to the Committee’s requests, DOD acknowledged that the incidence of “sexual abuse, harassment, and other sexual misconduct” over the last five years was higher than previously reported.


According to information the Committee obtained from DOD, 60 allegations of sexual abuse, harassment, and other sexual misconduct were made against JROTC instructors during the past five years.  Of those allegations, 58 were substantiated following a local school or law enforcement investigation.  DOD also acknowledged to the Committee that this new data may still not reflect the complete universe of allegations made against JROTC instructors, stating that “[s]chool districts and law enforcement may choose not to release all information regarding the outcome of an investigation because JROTC cadets are high school students and generally are minors.” 


Information obtained by the Committee also reveals that the military services do not consistently conduct in-person evaluations of their respective JROTC programs.  For example, the Army reported that United States Army Cadet Command “conducts accreditation inspections on an annual basis for one third of all programs,” and Navy JROTC area managers “inspect each Navy JROTC program at least once every other academic school year,” while guest inspectors conduct off-site evaluations for the remaining Navy JROTC units.  Meanwhile, the Air Force conducts “virtual unit assessments annually and on-site (in-person) unit assessments once every 3.3 years,” and the Marine Corps “conduct[s] official in-person visits once every two years.”


Click here to read today’s memo.


Click here to watch today’s hearing at 10:00 a.m. ET.

117th Congress