The Lackland Air Force Base sex scandal erupted in the 2011/2012 time frame. Sig Christenson, a reporter from San Antonio Express, slowly began to reveal the sex scandal issues at the basic military training facility in Texas and reported on most of the courts martials initiated by the Air Force. As a result of the escalating media coverage and other forces at play, it gave military sexual assault advocacy organizations a reason to request hearings in front of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressional hearings were held on January 23, 2013. Both General Edward Rice and General Mark Welsh testified at this hearing along with two retired Air Force women and Dr. David Lisak. In the end, 35 Basic Military Training personnel were courts martialed for allegedly abusing trainees or sex related offenses. Now that the dust has settled and some time has passed, whistleblowers have disclosed that the Air Force investigations trampled on due process rights. And individuals were railroaded with collateral charges which forced them to take plea deals to avoid excessive punishments. Two were found guilty of rape and sentenced to twenty years. The Air Force is being accused of going on a “witch hunt” after being politically motivated to clean up the basic training facility while under the watchful eye of the media, advocates, and Congress. This post was inspired by Never Leave an Airman Behind: How the Air Force Faltered & Failed in the Wake of the Lackland Sex Scandal by Lt Col Craig Perry, USAF Retired.
SSgt Craig LeBlanc was a Basic Military Training Instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He is also one of the 35 instructors courts martialed after a base-wide investigation into sexual abuse claims referred to as the Lackland Sex Scandal. He was accused of having inappropriate relationships with recruits, adultery, and sexual assault. He was found not guilty of sexual assault. Nonetheless, SSgt LeBlanc was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in February 2013. Although the actions for which he was found guilty were unprofessional and in fact Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) infractions, they were not criminal in nature yet he got prison time for consensual sex and adultery, a law that doesn’t exist in the civilian world. The Air Force gave SSgt LeBlanc the fourth longest prison sentence. SSgt Eddy Soto was sentenced to four years for the rape of a trainee but a year and a half later, the Air Force Criminal Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and set aside the original prison sentence. The rape charge lacked evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. SSgt Luis Walker and MSgt Michael Silva were both sentenced to twenty years for rape and sexual assault convictions. SSgt LeBlanc attempted to appeal his sentence but the military appeals court denied it.
“The dismissal of these two specifications does not dramatically change the penalty landscape; in fact, only the maximum confinement authorized would change. Without the convictions on these two specifications, the confinement exposure is reduced from 22 years and 1 month to 18 years and 1 month. The appellant was sentenced to confinement for 30 months. Having considered the totality of the circumstances, we would reassess the appellant’s sentence to the same sentence approved by the convening authority.” -USAF Court of Criminal Appeals (March 2015)
Another Lackland trainer referred to court-martial
Former Military Instructor’s Court-Martial Set
Court-Martial Begins for Lackland Air Force Instructor
Lackland trainer’s bragging is cited
Lackland trainer bragged of sex, witnesses say
Lackland court-martial trial continues
Lackland trainer jailed after release
Lackland trainer pleads guilty on two charges
LeBlanc guilty of all but one charge
LeBlanc Acquitted Of Sexual Assault, Sentenced For Other Charges
Lackland trainer gets prison for sexual misconduct
US v. SSgt CRAIG A. LEBLANC, US Air Force, ACM 38396, M.J., 26 March 2015
A Complete List of the 35 Basic Military Training Instructors Court Martialed in the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal