Several female cadets were secretly filmed by an Army sergeant at West Point.
Officials said on Wednesday that Sergeant 1st Class Michael McClendon has been charged with dereliction of duty, mistreatment, entering a women’s bathroom without notice, and taking and possessing inappropriate videos and photos of at least a dozen women.
According to The Associated Press, McClendon was relieved of his duties back in 2012. He was ordered to stay away from cadets while an investigation was launched. However, it took nearly a year before formal charges were filed against the Army sergeant due to the nature of the case.
Army vice chief of staff Geneneral John Campbell said in a statement:
“The Army is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our Cadets at the Military Academy at West Point – as well as all soldiers throughout our Army. Once notified of the violation, a full investigation was launched, followed by swift action to correct the problem. Our cadets must be confident that issues such as these are handled quickly and decisively, and that our system will hold those responsible accountable.”
Reuters reports that McClendon was in possession of video of female cadets he had secretly filmed during his time at West Point. Army officials explained that the footage has been recovered and the victims alerted to the situation. Their names are being withheld to protect their identities.
McClendon was assigned to West Point in 2009. His position at the academy effectively put him in charge of training and mentoring around 121 cadets. He has since been transferred to Fort Drum in New York while the investigation is underway. He is reportedly still on active military duty.
Sexual misconduct in the military is a growing concern. A recent Pentagon report suggests that 26,000 women were the victims of sexual assault in 2012 alone.
What do you think should happen to the Army sergeant who secretly filmed female cadets at West Point?