Two U.S. Air Force Academy cadets face criminal charges connected to alleged hazing incident

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - The United States Air Force Academy announced Thursday an Article 32 hearing will be held for two cadets later this year after allegedly conspiring with other cadets on several occasions to commit hazing.

Cadet First Class Lars P. Knutson will appear for a hearing on September 28 and Cadet First Class Michael B. Hannigan will appear on October 3. They both were charged on September 6, 2018, for violating Article 81 after wrongfully and willfully coordinating and attending a hazing incident at the Academy.

Cadets Knutson and Hannigan were also charged with violating Article 92 for failing to refrain from engaging in such activities that lead to hazing, as it was their duties to stop them from happening. 

Lastly, the two were charged with violating Article 134 of the Academy, for wrongfully attempting to impede the investigation by influencing other cadet's statements against them.

According to the U.S. Air Force, an Article 32 hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, where the primary goal is to determine whether probable cause exists to support the charges placed against the cadets.   

An Academy spokesperson told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that this is not the first time cadets have faced the charges of Conspiracy, Dereliction of Duty and Obstruction of Justice. While the cadets are innocent until proven guilty, should they be convicted of all three charges, they could each face a maximum punishment of six years confinement, dismissal and total forfeiture of their pay/allowances.

According to the Air Force Academy's Athletics website, both cadets were on the Men's Swim and Dive team last year as seniors. Hannigan's bio on the site shows he was named a team captain last year as well.

The two cadets were just recently held back from graduation on May 23rd because of the investigation.

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