Air Force major acquitted of sexually assaulting, buying alcohol for junior airmen

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A Family Circle Cup photographer snaps a photograph of professional tennis player Bethanie Lynn Mattek-Sands with Capt. Karen Mealey (left), 628th Force Support Squadron operations officer, and then Capt. Elaine Christian, 628th FSS Sustainment Flight officer on April 3, 2013. Photo by Staff Sgt. Rasheen A. Douglas

A support officer at the US Air Force Academy has been acquitted of several charges,  including sexual assault, dereliction of duty, and prohibited activities with a trainee.

Major Elaine C. Christian, who has served since 2006,  specializes in personnel management. 

Task & Purpose reported that Christian was accused of sexually assaulting “a specially protected junior member of the armed forces” in the fall of 2019, according to a USAF charge sheet.

The sheet noted that at or near the academy, the now-major allegedly groped an individual “with an intent to gratify her sexual desire” without the victim’s consent.

In addition, Christian allegedly provided alcohol for Air Force Academy cadets under 21 years old between October and November of 2019.

It is unknown if the victim in question was a cadet or a cadet candidate enrolled at the Preparatory School nearby.

According to Fox 21 News, the trial lasted approximately one-week.

Ultimately,  a panel of eight officers deliberated for seven hours before handing down the not-guilty verdict.

The matter of sexual assault prevention has become a serious one for the US Air Force and Department of Defense as a whole. 

Lloyd Austin, the new Secretary of Defense, shares this goal for the military as a whole. 

“We must do more,” Austin wrote. “All of us.”

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