Air Force to bring on more agents to investigate domestic violence allegations

Credit: Bill Clark

Credit: Bill Clark

The Air Force said it will hire 86 new investigations personnel to investigate violent crimes, including allegations of domestic violence.

The service will grow the number of special agents in the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) solely dedicated to investigating allegations of interpersonal violence. Part of that will be the hiring of 86 additional personnel and improving training for all who investigate violent crimes, including domestic violence, the service said in a Jan. 27 announcement.

“Domestic violence has no place in our Air and Space Forces — it breaks the bonds of our service family, destroys individuals, families, and our communities, and is illegal,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said in a release. “We owe survivors of both domestic violence and sexual assault a foundation of trust to report violence, and confidence that all members of the Department of the Air Force know how to effectively respond and support.”

Kendall directed a 90-day review to examine how domestic violence victims are supported in the Air Force.

An Air Force inspector general investigation into allegations concerning improper handling of domestic violence incidents found areas that require improvement “in establishing trust and rapport with victims, particularly in the early stages of reporting, response and investigations,” the Air Force said.

Last April, in an historic court-martial at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Maj. Gen. William Cooley, former head of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), was sentenced to a reprimand and forfeiture of $10,910 a month for five months for the sexual assault of his brother’s wife.

A spokesman for the Air Force Materiel Command told this news outlet last week that Cooley remains in active-duty status, performing duties as assigned, pending completion of administrative processes.

An officer-grade determination by Kendall will be made in conjunction with any retirement request by Cooley, that spokesman said.

Lt. Col. Bradley Poronsky, Cooley’s defense counsel, declined to comment.

Cooley, 56 at the time of his sentencing last year, is a two-star general who was found guilty of one specification of abusive sexual contact against his brother’s wife.

The military trial lasted eight days. OSI agents were involved in investigating allegations against the officer. Cooley was relieved of command of AFRL in early 2020.

The case marked the first time a military court had issued a verdict involving an Air Force general, as well as the first time sexual assault charges had led to criminal prosecution of an official high in the chain of command.

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