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Fairchild Expands Investigation Of Sergeant Base Officials Seek Information From Women Who May Have Been Assaulted By Member Of Security Squadron

Tue., Feb. 11, 1997

Fairchild Air Force Base officials are asking for new information from women who may have been victimized by a base security guard.

Master Sgt. Napolean Bailey, 39, was charged Friday with rape, forced sodomy, obstruction of justice and assault after a lengthy inquiry by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations.

Three women claim Bailey sexually assaulted them.

The charges come at a time when all branches of the military face heavy scrutiny for sexual misconduct at bases nationwide.

“Anyone who’s been victimized or knows anything about this case can call,” Fairchild spokesman Capt. Mark Brown said Monday.

The Fairchild hotline number is 247-5251.

Bailey, who has been jailed at Fairchild since Jan. 31, has denied all the charges against him. He has been provided a military defense attorney.

The Georgia native has been stationed at Fairchild for 12 years and was assigned to the 92nd Security Police Squadron.

Base officials refused Monday to divulge the names of Bailey’s accusers, citing privacy reasons.

They also declined to say whether the women are current members of the Air Force or were supervised by Bailey. But they provided additional details of the sensitive case in response to a Spokesman-Review inquiry.

Bailey is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening the first woman to step forward and accuse him of sexual assault, in 1995.

The assault allegation was investigated promptly, Brown said. But no charges were filed “because the victim recanted or withdrew her complaint,” he said.

“We later learned (after a September 1996 complaint from another woman) that her recantation was allegedly the result of pressure from MSgt Bailey,” Brown said in a written response to the newspaper.

The second woman filed a sexual asssault complaint against Bailey with Spokane police last September.

After that allegation, Fairchild officials yanked Bailey’s security clearance and weapon, and he was reassigned to desk work.

After police turned the case over to the Air Force, its Office of Special Investigations “discovered and interviewed additional victims,” Brown said.

None of the women had used a new Department of Defense hotline set up last fall to report sexual abuses in the military, Brown said.

Bailey was jailed Jan. 31 after military investigators interviewed him and searched his Spokane home, car and storage space.

He consented to the search, Brown said.

On Feb. 7, an independent magistrate reviewed the evidence against Bailey and concluded his pretrial confinement should continue.

The full charges include two counts of rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, unlawful entry, four counts of assault, obstructing justice, making a false official statement, communicating threats and disorderly conduct.

He’ll face a military tribunal, comparable to a grand jury proceeding, later this month.

A written report will be provided to the Fairchild wing commander. The commander will then recommend whether to try Bailey for “felony-level offenses,” Brown said.

The commander of the 15th Air Force at Travis Air Force Base in California can order a court martial for a felony trial, or refer the case to a misdemeanor court.

If that commander orders a court martial, it would likely be held at Fairchild, Brown said.

The Air Force can order the death penalty for rape in certain cases, but only under aggravated circumstances.

“Where those factors are not present, the maximum punishment includes life imprisonment,” Brown said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

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