The institution that breeds Australia's future military officers has been wracked by sexual misbehaviours and other abuses that date back from 50 years ago, according to the newly-published report of law firm DLA Piper.
Officially released on Tuesday by the Defence Ministry following its completion in 2011, the 1,500-page review unmasked disturbing acts perpetrated by officers that were tasked to hone and mould future leaders of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Instead of instilling discipline among the cadets hoping to obtain appropriate training from the ADF Academy, a number of officers allegedly abused their functions by committing sexual and other form of mistreatments, the majority of which believed to have occurred in the 1990s.
Male and female cadets have been subjected to humiliating situations with as many as 24 cadet officers involved in the acts that appeared to have been institutionalised in the ADFA since the 1950s.
According to The Australian, the ADF review is under the impression that a number of officers that victims have pinpointed could still be serving in the military.
Candidate officers were harassed, bullied, intimidated and raped by the very superiors they trusted with their well-being, the DLA Piper report said.
Sadly though "perpetrators of abuse or mismanagement of allegations of abuse in the past have not been called to account and or rehabilitated," according to the report.
"The apparent failure of Defence to call to account perpetrators of abuse and/or mismanagement of allegations of abuse in the past carries risks for Defence now because some of those persons may be in positions of senior and middle management within the ADF," the review noted too.
The same failure led to a culture of impunity that was carried over to present times, which was manifested in the current mentality of ADFA male cadets that the report said was generally hostile to women and minority races or aborigines.
According to News.Com.Au, women were referred as 'flabby' or squids while Asians or the aborigines were labelled as 'clack'.
The low regard for women was best manifested when a female cadet was filmed last year in her intimate moments with a fellow made cadet, with the whole act broadcasted via Skype without her knowing it.
Her coming out instigated the review and was followed by more controversies that further put the ADF into bad light.
In its search for the truth, review members recounted that their efforts were somehow thwarted a bit by some in the ADF, who either were simply protective of the institution or were not trusting of outsiders poking their nose on its internal activities.
But in the end, DLA Piper collected about a thousand of possible abuse cases and likely involving more than 800 complainants.
"Many of the stories involve horrific betrayals of the trust which real people ... usually young people, some of them children at the time," the report said.
"The behaviour complained of ranges from that which has never been acceptable nor tolerated, to that which, whilst not acceptable, has in the past been tacitly tolerated," said the review.
The victims, DLA Piper said, were both young males and females and the abuses were believed to have endured from the 1950s and well into the present times, highlighted by the Skype scandal that happened last year.
In releasing the damning report today, Defence Minister Stephen Smith conceded that DLA Piper unearthed "plausible allegations of abuse ... and these allegations are deeply concerning and are being treated very seriously."
"These involve allegations across every decade form the 1950s. The earliest date of alleged abuse is 1951," Mr Smith was reported by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying on Tuesday.
He also assured that federal authorities will have definitive response to the matter and among the options being mulled by the Gillard Government is the Royal Commission and the issuance of formal apologies or payment of just compensation.
"We are not too far away from making final conclusions in this area," Mr Smith stressed.
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