FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 26, 2012 Contact: Brian Purchia, 202-253-4330, brian@protectourdefenders.

com ***STATEMENT***

Washington DC – The Air Force announced today that an additional 3 instructors are being investigated at Lackland Air Force Base, bringing the total number of suspects under investigation in the widening sexual abuse scandal to 15. Air Force officials also announced that there are now 38 suspected victims, up from 31. The President of Protect Our Defenders, Nancy Parrish today released this statement about the widening criminal sexual assault scandal at Lackland Air Force Base. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the Lackland victims and their families. Unfortunately, we’ve always suspected that this was just the tip of the iceberg. What will it take for the Chairman of the House Armed Services committee, Rep. Buck McKeon to hold a hearing about the criminal sexual assault scandal at Lackland and investigate this epidemic of violent sexual crime within our military? Our brave men and women in uniform deserve more from their elected officials. Seventy-eight bipartisan members of Congress have called on Rep. McKeon to hold a Lackland hearing and more than 8,500 Americans have demanded it. But, the representative from California so far has ignored their pleas. Earlier this year, Rep. McKeon introduced legislation to protect lions and tigers, but when it comes to protecting our soldiers he has shown zero leadership. He should open a Lackland hearing immediately and get to the bottom of the sexual assault epidemic in our military. We cannot let the Lackland scandal become yet another asterisk in government’s long history of failing to fix our broken military justice system, as was the case of the Tailhook scandal in 1991 and Aberdeen in 1997. It is time for our elected officials that have been put in charge of oversight of our armed services to stand up and be counted." --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 partners with 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. ###