More than 2 dozen victims identified in swelling Air Force sex scandal
At least 31 women have been identified by the United States Air Force as victims in a swelling sex scandal, according to a four-star general on Thursday. The Air Force is widening its investigation to “actively seek any others that may have been affected by this,” General Edward Rice, the commander of Air Force training said.
Rice told reporters at the Pentagon, “We are taking a comprehensive look not only at the cases that we know, but trying to do the best we can to assess whether or not there are other cases out there.” According to Rice, the Air Force has taken “the unprecedented step” of shutting down all recruit training for one day to give a written survey to all basic military trainees at Lackland Air Force base in Texas, which has become the focal point of the developing scandal. Rice said, “Personal relationships of any kind between trainees and instructors is strictly prohibited by our regulations and our instructions.” As part of a plea agreement, one trainer has pleaded guilty to having an inappropriate relationship with a trainee, as well as 10 other trainees. Staff Sergeant Peter Vega-Maldonado has received a 90 day prison sentence, 30 days hard labor, and a demotion in rank and pay. He also provided testimony against two other trainers, who have also been charged, in his plea deal. The sex scandal surfaced in June 2011, after a young female trainee came forward and accused her male instructor, Staff Sergeant Luis Walker, of assaulting her. He now faces a general court-martial on 28 charges, including rape, adultery, and aggravated assault.