herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

31 air force trainees are victims of sex assault

At least 31 female trainees have been identified as victims in a widening sex scandal targeting a dozen instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the Air Force has revealed.

Six of the 12 instructors under investigation for misconduct face charges ranging from rape to adultery.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Craig LeBlanc, who is charged with aggravated assault and obstruction of justice, allegedly bragged about "getting laid" by a trainee in a supply closet, one of his fellow airmen testified at an evidentiary hearing.



MISCONDUCT

General Edward Rice, commander of the Air Education and Training Command, said the sexual misconduct apparently began in 2009 but that the first woman came forward only a year ago.

Those first allegations were levied against Staff Sgt Luis Walker, who faces the most serious charges and is scheduled to be court-martialed next month. Walker is charged with 28 counts, including rape, aggravated sexual contact and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault.

Lackland is where every American airman reports for basic training -- about 35,000 a year. About one in five are female, pushed through eight weeks of basic training by a flight of instructors that are about 90pc male.

hnews@herald.ie

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