July 25, 2023

T&I Leaders Larsen, Carbajal, and Scholten Request GAO Review of the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention Program

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rick Larsen (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Salud Carbajal (D-CA) and Vice Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Hillary Scholten (D-MI) requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the effectiveness of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Recovery (SAPRR) Program. The request was made after an internal investigation into sexual assaults at the Coast Guard Academy—Operation Fouled Anchor—was made public raising questions as to whether the Coast Guard has seriously mishandled sexual assault allegations.

“If successful, the SAPRR program should reduce the stigma of reporting; protect victims; increase prevention, investigation, and prosecution and victim care capabilities; increase training and resources; and refine and sustain 24/7 response capacity throughout the Coast Guard," the Members wrote. “Unfortunately, recent high-profile incidents call into question whether SAPRR is achieving its objectives, let alone preventing sexual harassment and assault.”

“Based on these concerns and Coast Guard renewed focus on addressing sexual assault and harassment, we ask that GAO conduct a review of Coast Guard programs to address sexual assault and harassment, including SAPRR program’s effectiveness,” the Members concluded, requesting GAO ascertain key challenges facing the program and resulting policy changes relating to Operation Fouled Anchor, among other things.

To read the full letter, click here.