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***STATEMENT*** AIR FORCE MISLEADS SENATORS AHEAD OF GEN. HYTEN CONFIRMATION HEARING BY CONTRADICTING FINDINGS OF ITS INVESTIGATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 30, 2019
Contact: Brian Purchia, 202.253.4330, brian@protectourdefenders.com

***STATEMENT***
AIR FORCE MISLEADS SENATORS AHEAD OF GEN. HYTEN CONFIRMATION HEARING BY CONTRADICTING FINDINGS OF ITS INVESTIGATION

Former Air Force secretary misrepresents results of investigation to cast unfounded doubt on alleged victim’s account

Washington, DC – Last Friday, Army Colonel Kathryn A. Spletstoser came forward accusing Air Force General John Hyten of sexual assault. Tomorrow, the Senate Armed Service Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for General Hyten, President Trump’s nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second-highest-ranking position of the U.S. Armed Forces.

When the news broke earlier this month that an officer had accused General Hyten of sexual assault, a senior officer told CNN that the Air Force’s investigation found “no evidence that the woman was lying.” Following Colonel Spletstoser publicly identifying herself as the victim, former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson contradicted the findings of the Air Force’s investigation to cast unfounded doubt on Colonel Spletstoser’s account of events, saying, “Based on what I know of the complete investigation, I believe General Hyten was falsely accused.”

Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:

“Now that Colonel Spletstoser has come forward publicly, the Air Force appears to be engaged in revisionist history in order to smear her. As the Air Force’s own investigation has concluded, there is no evidence that Colonel Spletstoser has fabricated a single word of her allegations or has anything to gain by coming forward. While General Hyten has hidden behind his public affairs staff and has answered no media inquiries, Colonel Spletstoser has done extensive media interviews on the record to stand by her allegations.

“To be clear, the Air Force OSI investigations do not reach conclusions or make recommendations as to dispositions. General Hyten was not ‘cleared’ by an investigation. Instead, a fellow four-star general made the decision to do nothing to Hyten. This raises questions about impartiality at the very least. For the sake of justice, the men and women who bravely serve our country, and military survivors, the Senate cannot confirm General Hyten tomorrow without undermining the very values that our military claims to protect.”

New York Times: ‘I Have a Moral Responsibility to Come Forward’: Colonel Accuses Top Military Nominee of Assault: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/us/politics/hyten-assault-joint-chiefs.html

Senate Armed Services Committee: Senate Armed Services Committee to Hold Nomination Hearing for Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Next Tuesday: https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/press-releases/senate-armed-services-committee-to-hold-nomination-hearing-for-vice-chairman-of-the-joint-chiefs-of-staff-next-tuesday

AP: Exclusive: Officer Alleges Sexual Misconduct By General: https://www.apnews.com/08a297df36e947a7888fde64acebdec5

Washington Post: A Colonel Accused a Four-Star General of Sexual Assault. A Senate Panel will Decide What Happens Next: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/a-colonel-accused-a-four-star-general-of-sexual-assault-a-senate-panel-will-decide-what-happens-next/2019/07/28/4a19ccfe-afbd-11e9-a0c9-6d2d7818f3da_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e010039ed799

CNN: Air Force Clears Senior General of Sexual Misconduct Allegations: https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/10/politics/hyten-cleared-assault-allegations/index.html

About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is a human rights organization. We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at www.protectourdefenders.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ProtectOurDefenders or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ProtectRDfnders.

Protect Our Defenders advances lawsuits filed against the DoD and service academies for repeatedly ignoring rape, sexual assault and harassment, failing to prosecute perpetrators and retaliating against the victim.

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