[Editor’s Note: This showed up in our inbox a few days ago. Thank you for your contribution.]
The Photograph: Tullahoma Cadet abused in Bondage Photo found on Tullahoma Composite Squadron Website. Auxilliary photo: Tullahoma Composite Squadron website of Cadets presenting Squadron Commander with Duct Tape and Rope with the card saying: Tie ’em up; Tape ’em up.
Photos appear at the end of this email.
Photo enhancement technology has been applied to this photograph, revealing that the cadet being humiliated and abused is the same cadet, (name with held), who was allegedly physically abused by a previous CAP National HQ staffer and current Group Commander in the CAP Tennessee Wing. There can be no question that the cadet in the photo, whether or not talked into compliance by abusing Senior Members and/or senior Cadets was being subjected to: cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful as defined by CAPR 52-16.
Say whatever you will, whatever the exercise may have been advertised or intended to have been, it turned the corner when the duct tape was applied to the boy’s mouth, leaving the unknown asthmatic child to panic over inadequate oxygen intake, and it is enhanced by the leadership of the squadron both senior member as well as cadet knowing that the squadron commander had a propensity and interest in bondage to the extent that they would present Major S. with a roll of duct tape and bondage chords labeling their own photo for their website as: “tie ’em up, tape ’em up.” That the website has ceased displaying the photos is in no way credit to their understanding of the seriousness of activities directed toward this young boy, but rather to my appeal to Col Jim Rushing, Tennessee Wing Commander.
Here are the complaints about that incident with the cadet and the current Group Commander in the CAP Tennessee Wing:
INITIAL REPORT MADE TO THE TENNESSEE WING COMMANDER, JAMES RUSHING, COL, CAP:
In an effort to dispel these rumors contact was made with L. D. also a CAP Member. As explained to me by L. D. the mother of the Cadet, a Senior Member Col B. L. was named as the individual striking the Cadet. The reason as explained to me that Col L. gave for striking Cadet D, was that they were getting ready to go home from encampment at Catoosa GA and the male cadets were horsing around near a short flight of stairs. He stated that he was afraid that one of the kids would fall down the stairs so he struck Cadet D since he was the closest one to him to get them to stop before anyone got hurt. The blow was hard enough to knock him down and put a small knot on the back of his head. Cadet D immediately reported it to encampment officials.
On the way home from Catoosa Georgia, Maj S. and Lt K. G. verbally interrogated Cadet D and made him feel as if he deserved it for some reason. Cadet D was in tears when he returned. L. D. can provide the date, time & place and any documentation of this incident upon request. Col James M. Rushing had direct knowledge of this incident and did nothing to respond to Capt L. D’S concerns. Upon Cadet D’s return, Capt L. D. immediately called Col Rushing to voice her concern and outrage that a Col would strike her son in the back of the head for any reason.
Col Rushing, Col B. L. and Lt Col M. L. (wife of Col B. L. and Wing Chief of Staff) came to meet L. D. for the benefit of CAP charges not being filed. L. D. was promised that Col L. would be taken out of any position that would entail working with cadets and that senior member training would be increased to prevent this type of incident happening again. She has seen neither. The CAP Regulations are very clear about incidents such as this.
While Cadet D was a member of the Tullahoma Composite Squadron he was subject to verbal abuse on a regular basis. The Mother had to step in on several occasions to intervene and try to stop this abuse against her son. Cadet D expressed to his mother that these actions towards him were uncalled for and distressing. Accusations afterwards toward Capt L. D. by Senior Members in the Tullahoma Squadron tried to attack her integrity and character by spreading rumors and lies about her in order to bring about discredit upon her.
Civil Air Patrol Regulation 52-16, Para 1-4. A.B & 1-4.1 states:
A. Proper Supervision. Unit commanders will take all reasonable measures necessary to protect cadets from harm while under CAP supervision. Senior members will be present at all activities involving cadets. CAP guidelines on the Cadet Protection Policy are found in CAPR 52-10, CAP Cadet Protection Policy, and are taught in CAPP 50-3, CAP Cadet Protection Training Instructors Guide and Student Materials.
b. Policy on Abuse. CAP, like other youth organizations, will be alert to situations of potential abuse of cadet members.
1) CAP members are expected to avoid even the appearance of impropriety involving cadets and to report suspected abuse immediately. CAP is committed to doing everything reasonably possible to combat the potential for child abuse within our organization.
Civil Air Patrol 52-10, Para 1B & 1C States
Reporting Requirements. Senior members, cadets, and parents/guardians should immediately report incidents of observed or suspected abuse to the unit commander or commander at the next higher level of command. Whenever a commander has received a report of abuse, suspects that abuse has occurred or may occur, or believes there is an appearance of impropriety in the nature of cadet abuse by a member of CAP, the commander will immediately suspend the member from CAP and will report the abuse as follows.
b. Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is defined as any conduct whereby someone physically strikes or assaults another in any way. The unit commander will immediately notify the wing commander who will immediately notify the region commander, the wing legal officer, and the General Counsel. The wing commander will consult with the wing legal officer before directing an investigation or administrative action. In cases where physical injuries are involved, follow the notification and reporting procedures in CAPR 62-2, Mishap Reporting and Investigation. Members who have observed or believe they have been subject to physical abuse may file a complaint in accordance with CAPR 123-2, Complaints.
c. Hazing. Hazing is defined as any conduct whereby someone causes another to suffer or to be exposed to any activity that is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful. Actual or implied consent to acts of hazing does not eliminate the culpability of the perpetrator. Examples of hazing include using exercise as punishment or assigning remedial training that does not fit the deficiency (such as making a cadet run laps for having poorly shined shoes). Hazing, as defined in this policy, is considered a form of physical abuse and the reporting procedures for physical abuse must be followed.
The enhancements made by photographic technology show that the cadet tied up with mouth taped shut is the same cadet allegedly struck by Col W. L., an incident covered up through alleged intimidation (the mother claims she was told by Col Rushing and Lt Col M. L.: (1) that she would lose her job if she reported the hitting incident, (2) that to report it, since the hitting incident occurred in Georgia, the mother would have to take off from work and travel at her expense to Georgia to report the incident to the sheriff of Catoosa Georgia at his office; and, (3) that CAP regulations would insure that Col Rushing’s reporting it up the CAP chain of Command would insure that it was properly investigated by a branch of the United States Air Force, and that Col L. would never have access to the control or authority over cadets again.
Because the Statute of Limitations continues to run for this young man, all investigations into the matter continue to be open.
Civil Air Patrol is the only entity not responding and offering correction.
Phillip L. Blansett, Ph.D.
Major, CAP (Resigned)