Ranking Members Raskin and Thompson Demand Answers From Coast Guard on Troubling Mishandling of Sexual Assaults At Academy
Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2023)—Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Admiral Linda L. Fagan, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), requesting information on the USCG’s mishandling of allegations of sexual assault at the Coast Guard Academy (CGA) that severely limited the ability of survivors to seek and obtain justice. The letter follows a recent congressional briefing by USCG officials and public reporting on the Coast Guard’s internal “Fouled Anchor” investigation of sexual assault allegations at the Academy spanning two decades.
“We write today with deep concern regarding the Coast Guard’s mishandling over a nearly two-decade period of dozens of allegations of sexual assault at the Coast Guard Academy (CGA). We are also profoundly troubled by the Coast Guard’s choice to withhold from Congress and the public—as well as the CGA and broader Coast Guard—the Coast Guard’s own findings of the multi-year investigation that uncovered the mishandling of the sexual assault allegations,” wrote the Ranking Members.
The Oversight and Homeland Security Committees previously investigated the Coast Guard’s handling of allegations of bullying and harassment at the Coast Guard Academy. In December 2019, the Democratic staffs of the Oversight and Homeland Committees issued a joint staff report entitled “Righting the Ship: The Coast Guard Must Improve its Processes for Addressing Harassment, Bullying, and Retaliation.” The report, which followed the 18-month investigation led by Committee Democrats, detailed how USCG leadership failed to conduct thorough investigations of allegations of harassment and bullying raised by a uniformed faculty member and staff member at CGA. The report also found that USCG failed to hold officials accountable for incomplete investigations and to take corrective action to address retaliation against individuals who report harassment or bullying.
The Ranking Members noted, “A common and troubling through line appears . . . between the Coast Guard’s mishandling of the allegations of bullying and harassment and the Fouled Anchor investigation’s conclusions: in both these instances, when confronted with allegations of mistreatment raised by those in subordinate positions (the majority were women), the Service failed to prioritize the appropriate investigation of the allegations, and then it resisted addressing forthrightly the institutional failures that enabled the mishandling of such allegations.”
At no time during the Committees’ investigation of harassment and bullying at the Coast Guard Academy, during the joint hearing convened by the Committees to review the results of the investigation, during subsequent hearings before the Homeland Security Committee, or in response to questions about sexual assaults within the Service did the Coast Guard disclose the existence or results of the Fouled Anchor investigation.
In today’s letter, the Ranking Members request information and documents by July 27, 2023, pertaining to the handling of the conclusions from the Fouled Anchor investigation as well as any other investigations about which the Coast Guard may have failed to notify Congress appropriately.
Click here to review today’s letter.