Governor Parnell is asking the federal National Guard Bureau to investigate cases of sexual assault in Alaska’s National Guard. In a press release, Parnell wrote he is “deeply concerned by reports of sexual assaults and other behavior creating a hostile environment and culture within portions of the Alaska National Guard.”
The investigation follows a story from the Anchorage Daily News last October where alleged victims of sexual assault described an extensive problem in Alaska’s National Guard.
Sean Cockerham is a reporter with McClatchy Newspapers Washington Bureau. He broke that story and is reporting on the investigation. He says he began hearing about problems in the Guard last year.
KTUU says Parnell’s office this week released a Feb. 28 letter to National Guard Bureau chief Gen. Frank Grass that asks for an investigator to be appointed to examine open and closed investigations of alleged sexual assault.
Parnell spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, says Grass quickly responded, and Parnell met last week with officials, including Col. Christian Rofrano, the chief counsel of the National Guard Bureau. Leighow says the scope of an investigation was discussed.
Alaska National Guard officials have said 29 cases of sexual assault have been reported since 2009. Of those, 21 were closed or suspended after law enforcement got involved.