Air Force confirms Wisconsin commander under investigation

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2012, file photo, then-Wisconsin Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar listens during a news conference in Milwaukee. U.S. Air Force officials confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 that they're investigating the Wisconsin National Guard's former commander after Guard investigators determined he improperly launched an internal sexual assault investigation. (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde, File)
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — U.S. Air Force officials confirmed Wednesday that they’re investigating the Wisconsin National Guard’s former commander after Guard investigators determined he improperly launched an internal sexual assault investigation.

Gov. Tony Evers’ office has said the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations discovered that Adj. Gen. Donald Dunbar improperly launched the probe sometime last year while the OCI was conducting a top-to-bottom review of the Wisconsin Guard’s sexual assault complaint protocols.

Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin requested the review in March after Master Sgt. Jay Ellis complained to Baldwin in 2018 that commanders in his 115th Fighter Wing security squadron had brushed off at least six sexual misconduct complaints dating back to 2002.

The National Guard Bureau produced a report in December that found multiple shortcomings with how Dunbar’s command handled sexual assault complaints, including launching internal investigations in 22 of 35 cases reported between 2009 and 2019. Federal law and Department of Defense regulations require commanders to refer sexual assault complaints to their respective branches’ criminal investigators and prohibit internal investigations.