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.
“If Estacio had been convicted of sexual assault or wrongful sexual contact, the Air Force would have been required to notify state officials so he could be placed on a sex-offender registry, said Lt. Col. Mark Hoover, an Air Force training command attorney.” -My SA
SSgt Kwinton Estacio was a basic military training instructor as Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He was one of the 35 instructors courts martialed in what is referred to as the Lackland Sex Scandal. SSgt Estacio was accused of a sexual assault and wrongful sexual contact with a trainee. The judge found him not guilty of sexual assault as there was not enough evidence to support the charge. A sexual assault conviction carried a maximum sentence of thirty years. A jury found him not guilty of wrongful sexual contact. Sexual assault and wrongful sexual contact indictments could have landed him on the sex offender registry. SSgt Estacio pleaded guilty to an unprofessional relationship, disobeying a direct order, and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to one year in prison and received a bad conduct discharge. He appealed his sentence but the appeal was denied. Although the actions for which he was found guilty were unprofessional and in fact UCMJ infractions, they were not criminal in nature yet he was sentenced to 1 year in prison. SSgt Estacio had the sixth longest prison sentence in the Lackland scandal. SrA Christopher Oliver had the fifth longest sentence at 2 years for unprofessional relationships and adultery. SSgt Craig LeBlanc had the fourth longest sentence at 2 1/2 years for unprofessional relationships & adultery. SSgt Eddy Soto had the third longest sentence at 4 years for rape but Soto’s conviction was later overturned by the Air Force Criminal Court of Appeals. The rape charge lacked sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. SSgt Luis Walker and MSgt Michael Silva both received 20 year sentences for rape and sexual assault.
Air Force trainer pleads guilty in sex scandal
Lackland training instructor pleads not guilty to sexual assault charge
Air Force instructor in Texas acquitted on sex charge
Air Force trainer acquitted in sexual assault at Texas’ Lackland
Former Lackland trainer receives 1-year sentence
Air Force trainer is spared a 30-year penalty
Air Force boot-camp instructor sentenced to prison in sex scandal
US v. SSgt KWINTON K. ESTACIO, US Air Force, ACM 38256, 11 June 2014
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