Update: Air Force scandal prompts changes at base

The change comes after a scandal in which dozens of female recruits said they were improperly approached, sexually harassed and raped.

AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Air Force said Wednesday it is changing how it selects instructors for new recruits after a sex in which dozens of women said they were improperly approached, sexually harassed or raped.

An investigation found that 23 instructors allegedly engaged in inappropriate or coercive sexual relationships with 48 recruits at Lackland Air Force base in Texas, where all U.S. airmen report for basic training. Five people have been convicted in courts martial on charges ranging from adultery to rape. Another person received administrative punishment, and additional instructors still could face criminal charges.

Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward said the biggest failure came from bad instructors who took advantage of a weak oversight system.

"Sexual attraction, power, and money are three of the most corruptive elements of the human condition, and two of these three are present in the basic military training environment," Rice wrote in a letter to the secretary of Air Force released Wednesday. "If we do not take steps to address these corruptive elements persistently and positively, we will find ourselves in the same situation at some point down the road."

Lackland has about 500 instructors for about 35,000 airmen who graduate every year. While one in five recruits are women, most instructors are men.

In a written response to the investigation, the commander in charge of training, Gen. Edward Rice Jr., said the Air Force will add more and better officers to supervise training units and require enlisted troops who hold instructor jobs to have more seniority. Instructors will be expected to monitor each other for signs of abuse, and the Air Forces plans to recruit one female instructor for every three males.

Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy group for military personnel who have been sexually assaulted, welcomed the report, but called for congressional action in addition to the reforms announced Wednesday.