LONG ISLAND – US Merchant Marine Academy officials review a report posted on social media by a cadet who claimed she was sexually assaulted during her year of training at sea.
Ryan Melogy founded Maritime Legal Aid and Advocacy – a non-profit website where victims of harassment on board ships can come forward anonymously. The Merchant Marine Academy graduate himself was sexually assaulted while on a ship in 2015. Since then he has been trying to seek justice for himself and others.
“When you are in this environment you live in a military dictatorship, you live under incredibly strict rules and you live in a culture of fear,” he said.
Melogy’s Instagram page features the latest victim to speak out. The US Merchant Marine Academy Class 2022 member has revealed she was 19 when she was sexually assaulted during her year at sea by an older engineer on a commercial vessel.
“He has the highest incidence of sexual assault, sexual harassment probably of any service academy, possibly any school in the country,” Melogy said.
This latest incident is far from isolated – the woman mentioned above claims she did not speak to any of her classmates who were not sexually harassed, assaulted or degraded at some point during her stay at the Academy or during the sea. Year.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand temporarily suspended the program in 2016 and announced legislation to make it easier for cadets to come forward if they are sexually harassed or assaulted. She calls the ongoing incidents outrageous and believes there needs to be better oversight and accountability.
“Seeing a 19-year-old woman raped by someone 30 to 40 years older is disgusting,” she said. “I think we need to condemn rapists, send them to jail and show them that rape is not tolerated by convictions.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Maritime Administration said they have zero tolerance for sexual assault and harassment, are ready to provide support to survivors and are working to determine the appropriate measures necessary to increase and ensure the safety of the students of the Academy. .
Receive last minute alerts in the FOX5NY News free app! | Subscribe to FOX 5 newsletters