Chairs Maloney and Lynch Urge DOD, Military Services to Protect JROTC Cadets from Sexual Abuse and Misconduct
Washington, D.C. (August 15, 2022)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force requesting information about how the Department of Defense (DOD) and the military services conduct oversight of their respective Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs to ensure that program leaders, instructors, and administrators cannot abuse, harass, or otherwise victimize the cadets under their supervision. The letter follows an alarming report from The New York Times detailing high rates of sexual misconduct and abuse within JROTC programs.
“As the United States Armed Forces struggle to attract qualified recruits to enlist and serve our nation in uniform, the military services must redouble their efforts to promote the safety, well-being, and academic and personal growth of our country’s next generation of leaders, who will ultimately decide for themselves whether to pursue a career of military service,” the Chairs wrote.
The New York Times investigation 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, contributing to a rate that the Times found was far higher than the rate of civilian high school teachers. According to the Times and other news reports, the alleged abuses occurred in JROTC programs across the military services.
DOD operates JROTC programs for the stated purpose of instilling students with “the values of citizenship, service to the United States … and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.” The Department accomplishes this mission in large part through the instructors it certifies to teach, supervise, and mentor cadets. Given this responsibility, JROTC instructors are often trusted adults and mentors in the lives of the young men and women under their care.
“Every incident of abuse or harassment committed by a JROTC instructor against a cadet is completely unacceptable and represents an abject betrayal of the trust and faith these young men and women placed in the U.S. Military, its culture, and its values,” the Chairs wrote.
In their letter, the Chairs expressed concern that DOD and the military services lack an effective means of monitoring the behavior of JROTC instructors, which could allow misconduct and inappropriate behavior to continue undetected. The Chairs requested that DOD and the military services provide information regarding reports of sexual abuse, harassment, and other misconduct allegations they have received, any actions they take upon receipt of such reports, and how the Department and military services conduct oversight of JROTC programs and instructors to ensure the safety and well-being of cadets around the country.
Click here to read the letter.