Lackland Basic Military Training Instructor, SSgt Eddy Soto, Sentenced to 4 Years for Rape, Air Force Appeals Court Overturns Conviction

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SSgt Eddy Soto, US Air Force

“Soto faced as much as life without parole for the rape, one of six charges and eight specifications of misconduct.” -My SA

SSgt Eddy Soto was a basic military training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Soto was one of the 35 instructors courts martialed in what is referred to as the Lackland Sex Scandal. SSgt Soto was accused of unprofessional relationships, adultery, and the rape of one airman whom it appeared he had a relationship with. Investigators learned of the relationship Soto had with the airman who accused him of rape as part of a widespread probe into MTI misconduct. Soto faced life without parole but prosecutors asked for 12-15 years. Soto pleaded guilty to five charges and admitted that he had unprofessional relationships with a trainee and a civilian who had come to the base to see her husband graduate from basic training. He also admitted to adultery charges but he denied the rape accusation. He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison in March 2013. After his confinement ended, he would be dishonorably discharged from the Air Force. Soto was the second instructor convicted of rape in the scandal. SSgt Luis Walker was the first conviction and he received 20 years for the rape of one airman and sexual assault of several others.

In an exceptional ruling by the Air Force Criminal Court of Appeals, Soto’s conviction for rape was overturned in Sept 2014. The military appeals court ruled the evidence was “factually insufficient” to support the conviction. In other words, there wasn’t enough evidence to find him guilty in the first place. The appeals court upheld the lesser charges of unprofessional relationships, adultery, and false official statement. The judge ruled the four year sentence and dishonorable discharge should be set aside and the case was referred back to the convening authority who had the authority to hold a new sentencing hearing. Soto remained jailed at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California while the government decided whether to ask the appeals court to reconsider their ruling. SSgt Eddy Soto served over a year and a half for a rape conviction that lacked evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Media reports stated Soto would be re-sentenced by a lower court for unprofessional relationships, adultery, and false official statement. Further on-line research did not find evidence of the final disposition of SSgt Soto’s case. We do not know if he was re-sentenced, released from prison and when, or if he was discharged from the military.

General admits failure in Lackland sex scandal; 32 alleged culprits
Cross-Cultural Expert Brought In For Lackland Court-Martial
Lackland trainer handed 4 years in rape
Lackland sergeant found guilty in rape case
Air Force instructor gets 4 years for raping trainee
Air Force trainer convicted of raping ex-trainee
Air Force trainer found guilty of raping cadet in Lackland base abuse scandal
US v. SSgt EDDY C. SOTO, US Air Force, ACM 38422, 16 September 2014
Court throws out Lackland trainer’s rape conviction (San Antonio Express)
Court throws out Lackland trainer’s rape conviction (Stars & Stripes)
Air Force appeals court tosses MTI rape conviction
Military overturns Lackland Air Force Base rape conviction
SSgt Eddy Soto Court-Martial Conviction for Rape Set Aside by Air Force Appellate Court
The Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal, Texas (2011)
A Complete List of the 35 Basic Military Training Instructors Court Martialed in the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal

Seymour Johnson Airman Matthew Theurer, US Air Force, Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter of Toddler Son; Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison (2013)

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SrA Matthew Theurer, US Air Force

SrA Matthew Theurer, 22, US Air Force, was arrested after the body of his baby was discovered in a bag on the side of a highway on March 12, 2013. SrA Theurer stood accused of dumping the baby’s body about 100 miles away from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina where he was stationed. After Theurer’s baby was discovered and a failed suicide attempt, Theurer confessed to investigators that he found his child unresponsive on February 15, 2013 and attempted to cover up the death. SrA Theurer admitted in military court that he began to downward spiral after the mother of his child moved away and left him to care for the baby by himself. SrA Theurer admitted to leaving the child alone while he went to work; an autopsy report indicated that the child died from starvation and neglect. SrA Theurer pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, child endangerment, obstruction of justice, and making a false statement. SrA Matthew Theurer was sentenced to forty years in prison, dishonorable discharge, and reduction to E-1.

Related Links:
Obituary: Matthew James Theurer
Indiana airman accused of murdering son, dumping body on side of the road
Report: Child of Seymour Johnson AFB airman found dead
Airman charged in death of young son
Military investigating airman accused of killing son
Starvation, neglect led to boy’s death, autopsy says
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base airman faces court-martial charges in October
Father to face charges in son’s murder
Airman pleads guilty to killing toddler son
United States vs. Matthew Theurer, US Air Force (2015)