US AIR FORCE ACADEMY OFFICERS SUSPENDED FOR
PERFORMING MONTY PYTHON SKETCH
AIR FORCE ACADEMY Two school officials have been placed on temporary leave and an investigation has been launched into allegations that cadets used sexually offensive language while performing a skit at a pregraduation party.
Col. Thomas Bowie, head of the Department of English and Fine Arts, and Lt. Col. Mark Braley have been removed from their positions as the Air Force Inspector General's Office investigates the claims.
Cadets performed a skit from "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" a racy British comedy at a gathering known as a "dining-in" in the military, similar to an office party. The event was not open to the public but was held in a restaurant.
Academy spokesman Neil Talbott said he expects the inspector general's inquiry to take two to three weeks.
"We place great trust in our faculty and cadets and hold them to the highest standards," Talbott said. "Any deviation from those standards is unacceptable."
Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said his office received a complaint about the play's content, which included a scene of a teacher graphically describing foreplay to his pupils.
Allard raised his concerns to the academy's superintendent and others at a board of visitors meeting June 25. The board oversees the academy's operations.
"I told them we have several cases of sexual harassment," Allard said, referring to cadets recently charged with rape, sodomy and child pornography. "I suggested they need to learn how to deal with it."
The skit was just one more example of inappropriate behavior, he said.
Academy officials wouldn't say how many people attended the dining-in, where it was held, or what year the cadets were.
Citing the ongoing investigation, officials also refused to say what procedures are followed when cadets propose and produce plays. As a result, it's unclear whether Bowie, who holds a tenure position, or Braley signed off on the skit.