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Lawmaker intervenes in Air Force cadet's case

By Associated Press
Published December 12, 2003

DENVER - A New Mexico congresswoman wants military officials to reconsider a threat to expel an Air Force Academy cadet who turned herself in after taking a sip of whiskey.

Rep. Heather Wilson, a former Air Force Academy graduate, compared the amount of alcohol to a sip of communion wine.

Air Force Academy commanders have demanded that sophomore Christina Fifer reveal the name of the senior female cadet who gave her the alcohol in September, or face expulsion. Fifer, 19, of Inverness, turned herself in three weeks after the incident.

"She knows what she did was wrong. She was willing to acknowledge it and take responsibility for her actions," Wilson said in a letter to Air Force Secretary James Roche. "If we do not want this young woman at the academy, who do we want?"

A spokesman for Roche said the secretary was not available for comment, but was following events at the academy closely.

Because of the academy's sexual assault scandal, officials have adopted a zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking. An Air Force investigation found that alcohol was involved in at least 40 percent of the assault cases. Under the new policy, any cadet 21 and older who provides alcohol to a minor faces dismissal.

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