Lackland Basic Military Training Instructor, MSgt Michael Silva, Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Raping Basic Trainee in 1995 & Ex-Wife, Appealing Decision

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MSgt Michael Silva, USAF

In the 2011/2012 timeframe, the Lackland Sex Scandal coverage began to gain serious momentum in the media. As a result, military leadership set up a hotline number for former recruits to report claims of sexual abuse while attending basic training. After a base wide investigation, 35 basic military training instructors were courts martialed for allegedly abusing trainees or sex related offenses. MSgt Michael Silva was one of two basic military training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base found guilty and sentenced by the military courts to 20 years for rape. SSgt Luis Walker was the other instructor and committed suicide shortly before MSgt Silva was found guilty. At an Article 32 evidentiary hearing convened in Silva’s case, he was facing charges of raping a basic trainee from 1995 and two ex-wives (one in the 1992-1993 time frame and another in 2007). In January 2015, Silva was convicted of the rapes of two women, the basic trainee back in 1995 and one of the ex-wives. MSgt Silva wrote a clemency letter to the convening authority in the courts-martial at Joint Base San-Antonio claiming that he was falsely accused and wanted to retire with the rank, pay and benefits of an Air Force senior master sergeant, the rank he earned but was never allowed to wear. Silva claims that his accusers (also military members at the time of the alleged incidents) were motivated to accuse him of rape in an effort to collect veteran’s benefits totaling $3000 a month. The accuser’s names in this case have been protected. The JBSA convening authority had 30 days to respond to Silva’s clemency letter yet it took ten months before he would learn that it had been denied. Silva is currently working on his appeal.

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