Winner 2003

Honor and Betrayal: Scandal at the Academy


On February 12, 2003, KMGH-TV Investigative Reporter John Ferrugia went on the air with his first story about sexual assault at the United States Air Force Academy. In ninety-seven separate reports—nearly six hours of total coverage—KMGH’s “7News Investigates” unit documented case after case of female cadets who were sexually assaulted at the academy. Dozens of women were finally able to talk openly about the culture of assault at the academy and how the academy addressed—or failed to address—their claims. From their testimony, Ferrugia’s reports reached a clear conclusion: Top officers of the United States Air Force Academy sanctioned a system in which female cadets were discouraged from, and often punished for, reporting sexual assaults. As a result of KMGH-TV’s thorough exploration of this issue, changes have been made at the academy beginning with the removal of its entire leadership including two top generals. This well-executed news investigation by executive producer Jeff Harris, news director Byron Grandy, investigative producer Kurt Silver, and writers John Ferrugia and Jeff Harris has prompted congressional hearings, investigations by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, and numerous other investigations inside and outside the Air Force Academy. For outstanding investigative reporting and for precipitating necessary changes within the United States Air Force Academy, Honor and Betrayal: Scandal at the Academy is awarded a Peabody.