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Latino Daily News

Wednesday June 27, 2012

Air Force Sexual Assault Investigations Expand to Four Bases in Two States

Air Force Sexual Assault Investigations Expand to Four Bases in Two States

Photo: Air Force Sexual Assault Investigations Expand to Four Bases in Two States

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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 10 women and allegedly raping one of them.

As he awaits his trail on July 16, Walker is joined in being the subject of a sex scandal, as it appears more instructors at Lackland have been involved in sexual misconduct with female recruits. After initially admitting to having illicit contact with just one women, Staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado 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.

The Pentagon has ordered a comprehensive review of the entire Air Force community even beyond Lackland.

Walker, who was officially charged with sexually assaulting or raping recruits between October 2010 and January 2011, has pled not guilty and faces a court martial.

The Air Force and specifically Lackland, is being completely transparent, with Lackland’s Col. Glenn Palmer stating, “I want the public to know what’s going on. I don’t want the possibility of someone saying, ‘Well look - they’re trying to cover it up.’”

Lackland is one of the nation’s busiest military training centers.

Wednesday, sexual assault victims lobbied members of Congress, seeking support for the Stop Act, which would put the reigns of sexual assault investigations into the hands of an independent military unit and out of commanders’ hands

Currently, investigators are looking into allegations at four Air Force bases in two states, involving multiple military instructors, and resulting in 35 being removed from their posts so far.