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Air Force Drops Sex Charges Against Cadet

Aired August 8, 2003 - 19:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We go to Colorado now. Six months after the Air Force Academy was rocked by claims of sexual abuse against female cadets, the Air Force is now dropping charges against a lieutenant facing possible court-martial for rape. Now, it was only the second case to result in charges since the scandal broke.
CNN's Rusty Dornin reports from Denver.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dozens of female Air Force cadets stepped forward last February and claimed they were raped by upperclassmen. Two male former students have been charged so far by the Air Force, but neither will stand trial for sexual assault.

One male cadet charged with rape, Douglas Meester, has asked to resign from the Air Force rather than face court-martial. And this week, the Air Force dropped charges of rape and sodomy against 2nd Lieutenant Ronen Segal. In a report prepared for the pretrial hearing, the investigating officer wrote, "The evidence indicates the sex was consensual." A female cadet testified she was raped by Segal after going to the upperclassman's home, drinking wine and passing out. She said she woke during the assault.

Segal will still face what's known as nonjudicial punishment for dereliction of duty in providing alcohol to a minor. He can choose between house arrest, reduction of pay for two months and a letter of reprimand, or go through a court-martial on the dereliction-of-duty charge. Segal's attorney, Frank Spinner, told CNN, his client expressed relief about the dropped charges and still plans to pursue a career in the Air Force.

He was transferred to Peterson Air Force Base after his graduation from the academy last year. The Air Force Academy would not comment on this case, but a spokeswoman said, there remains only two ongoing investigations into alleged sexual assaults, both said to have taken place within the last two weeks.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Denver, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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