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Airman convicted, sentenced for sexual assault and related offenses

On Jan. 2, a general court-martial convened at Tinker Air Force Base for a master sergeant assigned to the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron. The prosecution of the sergeant was handled by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 72nd Air Base Wing. The sergeant was charged with two specifications of sexual assault, two specifications of assault consummated by battery, and one specification of stalking. The total maximum sentence for the charged acts was dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of pay and allowances, reduction of rank to E-1 and 64 years in confinement.

On the day of the court-martial, the sergeant pleaded not guilty to all charges, and chose to be tried by an officer panel of members. Of the nine officers called in for panel selection, five officers were selected to serve by the military judge, the prosecution and the defense. During the four days of litigation, multiple witnesses were called to testify. On Jan. 5, the panel found the sergeant guilty of one specification of sexual assault, one specification of assault consummated by battery and one charge and specification of stalking.

After the evidence was presented, the panel found beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) The sergeant engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim after she became heavily intoxicated, and that such acts were without her consent, (2) on at least one occasion, strangled the victim to the point of unconsciousness, causing her to fear for her life, and (3) throughout the relationship the sergeant would visit the workplace and residence of the victim either contrary to her wishes, or without her knowledge in order to maintain physical and visual proximity of her person in order to maintain control over her through fear. The victim testified that such acts, when coupled with other threatening conduct caused her to fear for her own safety, as well as that of her immediate family.

The total sentence permissible for this conviction was a mandatory dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures of pay and allowances, reduction of rank to E-1 and 33.5 years in confinement. After the sergeant was found guilty, the panel proceeded directly into the sentencing portion of the trial, during which both the sergeant and the victim gave an unsworn statement regarding the conviction. Around 11:40 p.m. that evening, the panel returned from deliberations and sentenced the sergeant to a dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures of pay and allowances, reduction of rank to E-3 and four years in confinement. 

As a note, all courts-martial at Tinker AFB are open to the public, with some restrictions. If there are Airmen that are interested in observing a court, questions regarding the next docketed court can be addressed by contacting the military justice section of the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at 739-4430.