NY Air Guard abuse claim gets attention from Sens.

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy says his staff will talk to a retired New York Air National Guard officer who alleges a pattern of sexual misconduct at an upstate air base.

Former Lt. Col. Sharon Dwyer Stepp says in a letter to Leahy that offenders at the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia (SKOH'-shuh) have been promoted instead of punished.

Stepp was the unit's sexual assault prevention and response coordinator from 2006-2010. She says she was sexually assaulted three times during 37 years in the military.

David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy, says the senator wants to explore Stepp's claims in more detail.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (KEHR'-sten JIHL'-uh-brand) says her measure to take sexual abuse accusations out of the chain of command would apply to guard units.