Grothman: More Must be Done to Protect Cadets
Raises concerns about sexual abuse and misconduct in JROTC program
Below are Subcommittee Ranking Member Grothman’s remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Chairman Lynch.
This is a very important issue in need of oversight.
We have the greatest military in the world, primarily because of the men and women who serve.
These men and women often grow up wanting to serve their country and join the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in high school or the Reserve Officer Training Corps in college to prepare.
These programs provide training, education, and leadership skills necessary for the military.
JROTC operates in every state in the country with more than 3,500 programs.
Approximately 538,690 cadets are enrolled.
The programs are vital to the success of our military.
Unfortunately, recent reporting regarding sexual abuse and instructor misconduct is very concerning.
An investigation by the New York Times found that 33 JROTC instructors in the past 5 years have been criminally charged with sexual misconduct involving students.
This is at a far higher rate than civilian high school teachers.
At least seven were flagged for allegations previously but allowed to keep teaching.
In total, over the past five years, there have been 60 allegations of sexual misconduct against JROTC instructors with 58 substantiated.
While those 58 received an initial suspension of certification, more must be done to protect our young men and women who wish to serve in uniform.
I am interested in asking each of you not only what your plans to protect your cadets are but also if there are any identifiable patterns across these allegations.
Patterns in location, demographics, age, and gender would help inform where reforms can be most tailored to provide the largest return and protect the most cadets.
I hope this will be a productive hearing and result in substantive change from each of you.
Again, I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing and yield back.