An explosive new report from CNN reveals that US Coast Guard leaders have concealed a critical report on racism, hazing, discrimination, and sexual assault within the agency for nearly a decade.
The report, titled “Culture of Respect,” documented a culture of abuse and fear of retaliation for reporting abuse.
The findings of the report align with another secretive Coast Guard investigation revealed earlier this year by CNN, dubbed “Fouled Anchor”, into sexual assaults at the Coast Guard academy, which uncovered series misconduct and cover-ups by high-ranking officials.
Coast Guard Commandant Linda Fagan has previously apologized for the Fouled Anchor investigation. However, despite calls for greater transparency, the Culture of Respect report has remained hidden until now.
In response to CNN’s inquiries, a spokesperson for the Admiral stated that the commandant plans to make the report public, alongside the findings of a 90-day internal study on sexual assault and harassment prompted by the Fouled Anchor reporting.
Coast Guard officials told CNN that the Culture of Respect report was not meant for wide release but rather to inform policy decisions. However, they did not clarify why the report was not released earlier, considering it did not identify victims or perpetrators.
The report is based on internal research and interviews with nearly 300 people, and reveals concerns about blatant sexual harassment and hazing in the Coast Guard. According to CNN’s reporting, offenders often faced no consequences and were allowed to resign, retire, or transfer. Serious problems were also brushed aside or covered up.
Meanwhile, victims of misconduct faced career risks and little hope of consequences for their alleged perpetrators, according to CNN. Seeking mental health treatment after assault or trauma could also lead to involuntary discharge from the Coast Guard.
CNN reports that the Coast Guard has implemented or partially implemented 60 of the report’s 129 recommendations, including additional training and support services for victims. Another nine recommendations are still currently being worked on, and alternative methods have been found for 20 others, in an effort to address the organization’s culture.
You can read the CNN report for yourself here.
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