Congressional delegation visits Lackland amid sex scandal

Author: Myra Arthur, Reporter, Anchor, marthur@ksat.com
Published On: Oct 02 2012 07:00:59 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 02 2012 07:08:39 PM CDT
LACKLAND, Texas -

Three female members of the House Armed Services Committee visited Joint Base San Antonio Lackland Tuesday to gauge the impact of the far-reaching sex scandal on base.

So far, 19 training instructors have been under investigation, five of them convicted. There are 44 alleged victims.

"How could this incubate and have been going on for a while?" said Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (D) California.

The congresswomen spoke by phone to some of the alleged victims and also talked with some of the training instructors who blew the whistle on their peers. Many told the representatives that the sexual misconduct with trainees was simply accepted.

"We have reason to believe through whistleblowers that this has been going on for some time," said Rep. Jackie Speier, (D) California.

That's why these representatives want the sex scandal investigation to be extended, going back as far as 2002.

Meanwhile, they say a culture shift is needed to take away the stigma of reporting violations.

"We have to make it easier," said Sanchez. "We have to make it the right thing to do to report these things. We have a lot of work to do in our military."

"Unprofessional relationships will not be acceptable, from tweeting to sex assault. Anything in between is wrong," added Rep. Susan Davis, (D) California.

Congresswoman Speier also wants the punishment for these crimes to be examined. Former military training instructor Staff Sgt. Luis Walker was sentenced to 20 years for crimes that included rape and sexual assault. Speier says that is not sufficient.