Air Force cadet recruited as whistle-blower on sexual assault – then kicked out

An Air Force Academy whistle blower who was recruited to work as an undercover agent and exposed a culture of rape, drug abuse and partying by cadet athletes – especially on the football team – was thanked for his service by being expelled from the academy and kicked out of the military.

Investigators, including the Air Force’s own Inspector General, say that Eric Thomas was instrumental in ‘Operation Gridiron,’ which led to 37 cadets being kicked out of the academy, including four football players and four basketball players.

Two offenders, including star defensive back Jamil Cooks, were sentenced to prison time after being convicted of rape.

‘I was crucified, I was told how much of a terrible cadet I was,’ Thomas told ABC News.

Lieutenant General Michael Gould, who led the academy until recently, told ABC News that Thomas ‘deserved to be disenrolled.’

‘You would not want that particular individual to be an officer in our Air Force today,’ he said.

The landmark investigation, the biggest ever in the history of the Air Force Academy, has been hailed as a major step toward cleaning up a toxic culture in the athletic department and cracking down on sexual assault – which has become an epidemic in the US military.

But Mr Thomas, and his handler Office of Special Investigations Sergeant Brandon Enos, paid the price.

Thomas said that as more and more players on the Air Force’s vaunted football team became the subject of investigation, he found himself the target of disciplinary hearings.

The Air Force Falcons football team has brought in millions of dollars in ticket sales, TV deals and alumni donations. As investigators turned up the heat on the team, many top boosters and powerful officers began to show their displeasure with the digging.

Mr Thomas admits that he had received several demerits, but says nearly all of his discipline was a result of performing duties for his undercover work.

Sgt Enos was told by his supervisors not to testify in Mr Thomas’ defense and the Office of Special Investigations worked to deny that  Mr Thomas had even been a part of the investigation.

More at The DailyMail

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