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Latino Daily News

Monday July 23, 2012

Air Force Instructor Convicted of Rape and Sexual Assault

Air Force Instructor Convicted of Rape and Sexual Assault

Photo: Air Force Instructor, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, Convicted of Rape and Sexual Assault

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Last summer, Air Force Staff Sgt. Luis Walker was removed from his job at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas and charged with having illicit sexual contact with multiple women and allegedly raping one of them.

Friday, a jury of seven convicted walker of rape, sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault, finding him guilty of each of the seven counts he faced.

Walker, who was among 12 instructors at Lackland investigated for various acts and degrees of sexual conduct with 31 female trainees, now faces a dishonorable discharge and life in prison.

The testimony portion of the sentencing phase of the trial began over the weekend.

According to an Air Force statement, the case of another former Air Force training instructor, Staff Sgt. Craig LeBlanc, has been referred to a general court-martial. LeBlanc has been charged with obstructing justice, making a false statement, and sexual misconduct. He is accused of using his post as leverage in the pursuit of a sexual relationship with a female trainee. LeBlanc is also accused of having a wrongful sexual relationship with a second female trainee.

Another instructor,  Staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado was also involved in sexual misconduct with female recruits. After initially admitting to having illicit contact with just one women, he recently admitted in a hearing he had in fact had contact with 10 women. For his actions, Vega-Maldonado was given a brief jail sentence in return for being a prosecution witness.

Lackland is one of the nation’s busiest military training centers, as it is where every U.S. airman receives his or her basic training. Of the 35,000 who graduate each year, only about 1 in 5 is female. Of the 475 instructors, 90 percent are men.