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Military expands probe in Lackland sex scandal

Nov. 17, 2012 - 04:04PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 17, 2012 - 04:04PM  |  
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SAN ANTONIO Military prosecutors are considering a new charge against a staff sergeant implicated in a widespread sex scandal at the U.S. Air Force's training headquarters after a woman testified she was retaliated against for reporting unwanted advances

Investigating officer Maj. Jeffrey Biller may charge Staff Sgt. Donald Davis with obstruction of justice and maltreatment, the San Antonio Express-News reported Saturday. Davis has already been charged with sexually abusive contact with a recruit in his unit and having sex with a technical school trainee.

Davis is one of more than a dozen instructors being investigated as part of the sex scandal that has rocked Lackland Air Force Base which graduates more than 36,000 airmen annually. An investigation found that 23 instructors allegedly engaged in inappropriate or coercive sexual relationships with 48 recruits at the base.

Five people have been convicted in court martials on charges ranging from adultery to rape. Another person received administrative punishment, and additional instructors still could face criminal charges.

The expanded investigation against Davis came after a former recruit testified Thursday that the staff sergeant had touched her inappropriately, including measuring her body, during private workouts in his office. She testified that after she reported the advances to a master sergeant and law enforcement authorities at the base, Davis shouted at her in front of other recruits, calling her "dumb" and a "jackass."

The Associated Press does not identify victims of alleged sexual crimes.

The recruit said she had shared the story with a friend, Aubrey Tournade, an active duty airman who also testified. Tournade said that after the report, both she and the accuser were reprimanded for bad performance, removed from their unit and threatened that they would have to repeat part of basic training.

"It didn't make any sense," the newspaper quoted Tournade as saying. "Neither one of us had ever had any problems."

The accuser said she had also received a warning from a master sergeant who told her, "If I knew what was best for me, that I would keep my mouth shut about this whole incident."

Special Agent Cody Marcos, the lead investigator, submitted as evidence text messages retrieved from Davis' cellphone that he said backs up the story told by the accuser and her friend. Marcos said the text said that David said he needed "some dirt" on the alleged victim because he was "trying to laterally transfer her."

After that testimony, prosecutors wanted to include a charge of conspiracy against Davis, but have withdrawn the request because defense attorney Colin Eichenberger has asked for a delay.

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