WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (WDTN) - A colonel convicted of a sex crime three months ago still works at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as if nothing happened. This despite the United States Air Force maintaining it has "zero tolerance" when it comes to sexual assault and sexual imposition.
While 2 NEWS Investigates was working on holding the U.S. Air Force accountable, a woman who had testified against Colonel Mayan Shah stepped forward claiming no zero tolerance had been shown in her case. She agreed to an interview after much struggle, but only if she not be identified.
She said, "A strange man just walked up to me. He was making a strange sexual gesture towards me and then immediately propositioned oral sex." When asked what she did next, she said, "I was afraid of him and I immediately left the area."
She says she contacted the prosecutor's office only after hearing reports that other women had been victimized by Shah at the same place, AleFest 2012 in Dayton, and at about the same time.
"I was very hesitant about coming forward and testifying in that case because I knew it could affect my work environment," she said.
That's because she works in the same building as Colonel Shah. She says after Shah propositioned her at a festival in Dayton she saw him in uniform in her building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It turns out they both work at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. She as a civilian.
She said, "Then later to see him in my building walking around with colonel rank I was shocked."
A jury found Shah guilty of sexual imposition in June. In July he was sentenced to probation and ordered to register as a Tier One Sex Offender which 2 NEWS Investigates found that he did. She thought it was over.
"I thought that I would return to work and I would not have any future contact with Colonel Shah and this is in part due to this zero tolerance policy and Wright-Patt is purporting," she explained.
But that wasn't the case.
"It was terrifying, it was scary to see him at work. Number one I was shocked I wasn't expecting to see him. It's very uncomfortable seeing someone standing outside your workspace that you just recently testified against," she told 2 NEWS Investigates.
For months I asked Wright-Patt to explain how Colonel Shah could keep his position on base if there is indeed zero tolerance. I even left a message for Shah.
Pam on phone: "Colonel Shah this is Pam Elliot of WDTN."
I never did hear from the colonel, but I did Public Affairs.
Before Shah's conviction, I got an email stating, "The Air Force has zero tolerance for sexual assault, to include sexual imposition...."
Then after he was sentenced for sexual imposition I received another email , "Col. Shah is an active member of the Air Force stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and performing duties as assigned to him." "Any impacts to Colonel Shah's rank, benefits or retirement as a result of this matter are employment records and, as such, subject to the Privacy Act."
Then August 15 another email , "Below is our final response to your questions. Colonel Shah is currently assigned to the HQ Air Force Material Command, with regard to our definition of zero tolerance, it means we do not tolerate sexual assault-period."
So I went to the top. I called General Janet Wolfenbarger's office to set up an appointment. Within minutes I heard from Ron Fry in Public Affairs stating he speaks for the General.
Pam on phone: "That's all I've been asking, for, Ron is clarification so that I better understand how someone convicted of sexual imposition can continue in his position there at Wright-Patterson."
Pam: "Where do you go from here?"
"I'm not really sure. I've like I said I've been told really the only solution is change my life, I change my work environment and if I'm not willing to do that I'm forced to work in the same building down the hallway from a man who propositioned sex to me."
After reaching out to her management and being given options to move or have a male escort her to the bathroom, she sent an email to General Wolfenbarger earlier this week.
She said it led to a meeting with a one-star general, but nothing has changed. So she agreed to do this interview. She is left to wonder how the Air Force can claim to have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct.
We received a statement from Air Force Materiel Command late Thursday afternoon. It reads:
"AFMC is committed to the well-being of its employees, to include providing a safe and secure working environment. The Air Force is processing the retirement request of Col. Shah, to which he is legally entitled. Because he has been convicted in civilian court of a crime of moral turpitude, he will be processed for an Officer Grade Determination, which may lead to a reduction in rank upon his retirement, in accordance with Air Force instructions."
Kettering police named their newest officer Thursday in a special ceremony.
Dayton-based PSA Airlines announced it is hiring 1,000 more employees as part an American Airlines announcement that it will be purchasing new regional jets.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a comprehensive defense policy measure Thursday evening.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol released cruiser cam video of a trooper being struck along Interstate 75.
Makayla Poplin wasn't thinking about awards and accolades on a fateful day in March 2012. She just wanted to save her friend.