Air Force instructor's sex scandal trial delayed
Court-martial delayed for Texas Air Force instructor accused in basic training sex scandal
A court-martial due to start in the case against a Texas Air Force basic training instructor accused in a sex scandal at a San Antonio air base was delayed without explanation Wednesday.
The trial of Master Sgt. Jamey Crawford had been scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. But no attorneys were present as the scheduled start time passed, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Finally, trial judge Col. Donald Eller entered the courtroom, picked up a blue binder and left without comment.
Lt. Col. Mark Hoover, a lawyer with the Air Force training command, confirmed what had become apparent.
"To preserve the integrity of the process, the court-martial that was scheduled to convene today is not going to convene today," Hoover said. "We anticipate more information tomorrow, and as soon as we have information we will provide that update."
Crawford is accused of having a wrongful sexual relationship with a trainee, wrongfully providing and consuming alcohol with a trainee, committing adultery with the trainee and making a false official statement. He's the latest instructor at Lackland to face trial in the sweeping sex scandal involving basic training instructors at the air base.
All Air Force recruits go through basic training at Lackland, which has about 500 instructors for about 35,000 airmen who graduate every year. One in five recruits is female, while most instructors are men.
In July, a military jury sentenced Staff Sgt. Luis Walker to 20 years in prison after the former instructor was convicted of rape and sexual assault. The counts against Walker were the most severe in the investigation.
And last month, a military jury sentenced Tech. Sgt. Christopher Smith to 30 days of confinement and reduction in rank after he was convicted of wooing one female trainee and fraternizing with another at Lackland. He was acquitted of making sexual advances and obstructing justice.
Investigators say at least 38 female trainees were victimized and 15 instructors implicated. Six of the 15 instructors being investigated have been charged; Walker, Smith and another instructor, Staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado, have been court-martialed. Vega-Maldonado admitted in June to having sex with a female trainee and was given 90 days of confinement as part of a plea deal.
The Express-News reported that the head of training at Lackland, Col. Eric Axelbank, handed command to Col. Mark Camerer in a ceremony Tuesday, which was closed to the media.
The Air Force had previously announced Axelbank's departure and said it was a normal change of command, but it comes as the Air Force implements new training guidelines.
The base's top commander, Col. Glenn Palmer, was ousted last month.
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