July 21, 2012 in Nation/World

USAF instructor guilty of sex crimes

Will Weissert Associated Press
 

SAN ANTONIO – A U.S. Air Force instructor implicated in a sweeping sex scandal at one of the nation’s busiest military training bases was convicted in military court Friday of raping one female recruit and sexually assaulting several others.

Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, the first Lackland Air Force Base instructor to stand trial in the scandal, was found guilty by a jury of seven military personnel on all 28 counts he faced, including rape, aggravated sexual contact and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault.

The jury deleted a clause from two counts that accused Walker of making flirtatious and lewd comments to trainees. However, it upheld the overall counts containing the deleted clauses, which accused him of trying to cultivate a sexual relationship with two trainees.

Walker faces up to life in prison and a dishonorable discharge at his sentencing hearing, which starts today. He showed no emotion upon hearing the verdict. Outside the base courtroom afterward, Walker was met by his father and other relatives, some of whom were crying. He will remain free pending sentencing.

Walker is among 12 Lackland instructors investigated for sexual misconduct toward at least 31 female trainees. Six instructors have been charged on counts ranging from rape to adultery. Walker faced the most serious charges and was the first to stand trial.

Lackland is where every American airman receives basic training. It has about 475 instructors for the approximately 35,000 airmen who graduate every year. About one in five is female, pushed through eight weeks of basic training by a group of instructors, 90 percent of whom are men.

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