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Article 32 hearing set for Lackland MTI

Nov. 28, 2012 - 02:22PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 28, 2012 - 02:22PM  |  
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The most recent military training instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas accused of misconduct involving trainees will answer to charges Thursday that he had unprofessional relationships with two students and obstructed justice.

Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Jackson of the 331st Training Squadron brings the number of MTIs charged in a basic training sex scandal to 12 in just more than a year. At least 25 trainers have been investigated or remain under investigation for allegations that range from rape to contact over social media. Instructors are forbidden to associate with trainees even after they graduate from basic, and many of the cases have involved students who had moved on to technical training.

Jackson's Article 32 hearing, the military's equivalent of a preliminary hearing, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday. The convening authority will decide whether there is enough evidence to send the case to court-martial.

The charges, announced this afternoon, come just two weeks after the head of Air Education and Training Command made public the results of an independent investigation into basic training that looked at why the misconduct was so rampant.

Overworked trainers had been able to operate with little oversight, which helped lead to the abuses; leadership was reluctant to step in and instructors had not adequately policed themselves, the report concluded.

Gen. Edward Rice, AETC commander, said at the time that he would not be surprised to see more charges in the coming weeks and months.

Dozens of changes have been made to basic training, and more are underway, including increasing oversight and the number of instructors, tightening MTI standards and bringing in more female trainers.

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