Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Statement from Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish on Lackland Hearing Announcement

January 7, 2013
Contact: Brian Purchia, ,



Washington DC –
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) announced late last year that it will hold “open and complete” hearings into the sexual abuse scandal at Lackland Air For Base in San Antonio, Texas. Today, the HASC set a date for the hearings, January 23, 2013. This will be the first hearing in front of the Committee in 2013. Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish released this statement in response.

“We are hopeful that this hearing will be an opportunity to get to the bottom of the sexual abuse scandal at Lackland Air Force Base and addressing the epidemic of sexual assault throughout our armed forces. We wait to hear more details on the nature of the hearings. However, this is a significant step forward for our brave men and women in uniform.

We look forward to continuing to work with the House Armed Services Committee to make sure that the voices of survivors of sexual assault are heard at the hearing. We would like to thank Tailhook Whistleblower, Paula Coughlin-Puopolo, the more than 15,000 citizens and sexual assault survivors that demanded on and Protect Our Defenders and in person that Congress do its job and protect our service men and women and the 78 members of Congress who called on Rep. Buck McKeon to hold open hearings.

This is not just a crisis in the training commands — it’s throughout the armed forces and has been for decades, as the latest Air Force sexual abuse scandal that broke last week make clear. The epidemic of sexual assault in our military must be addressed systemically and this requires congressional hearings and legislation, so that Lackland does not become another Tailhook or Aberdeen.

According to the military’s own reports, there are 19,000 (10,000 male) victims a year of mostly unpunished rape and sexual assault throughout the military. Yet only 13.5% come forward out of fear of retaliation.”

San Antonio Express-News: House sets hearing on Lackland scandal

San Antonio Express-News:
Lackland misdeeds are about abuse of power, not sex

WOAI News: Congress Will Probe Lackland Sex Scandal

Paula Coughlin-Puopolo’s petition demanding Congress investigates the Lackland sexual assault scandal can be viewed here:

Contact info for the House Armed Services Committee for comment:
Claude Chafin, (202) 225-4151

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 or on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at       

Protect Our Defenders supports Attorney Susan Burke, Burke PLLC to advance 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.