SAN ANTONIO (AP) - An Air Force instructor was convicted in military court Friday of raping one female trainee and sexually assaulting several others at a large Texas base that is embroiled in a sweeping sex scandal.
Staff Sgt. Luis Walker showed no emotion as the jury of seven military personnel was read - guilty on all 28 counts, including rape, aggravated sexual contact and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault. He faces up to life in prison and a dishonorable discharge.
Walker is among 12 instructors at Lackland Air Force Base, where all U.S. airmen go through basic training, who have been investigated for alleged sexual misconduct involving a total of at least 31 female trainees. Six instructors have been charged on counts ranging from rape to adultery, and Walker, who faced the most serious charges, was the first to stand trial.
Prosecutors say Walker raped one of the women and sexually assaulted or had inappropriate sexual or personal contact with nine others over a 16-month period. Several of the women testified during the court-martial, including an airman who described how Walker lured her into an office and sexually assaulted her on a bed while ignoring her pleas to stop.
The women told jurors that Walker gained their trust to get them alone in his office or an empty dormitory where he forced them into kissing, touching and intercourse. Those testifying said they didn't tell anybody at first because they feared being booted from the Air Force.
The Associated Press is not naming those who testified because they are alleged sexual assault victims.
Lackland 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.