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Court-martial begins for 7th MTI in sex scandal

Jan. 29, 2013 - 07:30PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 - 07:30PM  |  
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The prosecution called its first witness this afternoon in the case of the latest military training instructor to face court-martial at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Staff Sgt. Donald Davis is charged with abusive sexual contact of a trainee, assault and battery and having a sexual relationship with a technical training student. He is the seventh MTI to stand trial in a sexual misconduct scandal that has led to the investigation of dozens of trainers, 15 of whom have been criminally charged.

A court-martial for an eighth MTI set to begin this week has been postponed, said Brent Boller, Lackland spokesman. It was not clear when the trial would resume.

A panel, or jury, of seven officers — six men and one woman — was selected in the Davis case today, Boller said. The officers range in rank from captain to colonel.

Earlier today, the defense asked for a change of venue due to pre-trial publicity, but the judge denied the motion, Boller said.

The first witness to take the stand, a former trainee who said Davis called her into his office for private workout sessions, began testifying this afternoon following opening arguments, Boller said.

The woman said during her Article 32 hearing late last year that Davis hugged her and measured her waist during the sessions and that it made her uncomfortable. When she reported what happened to a master sergeant, Davis began yelling at her and calling her names, she said. The former trainee testified she was also reprimanded by the master sergeant and removed from her unit.

The court-martial is expected to last until Thursday.

Six MTIs have been convicted at courts-martial in less than a year. Two received punitive discharges at sentencing.

The Air Force has responded to the scandal with dozens of changes to basic training, including adding more MTIs, toughening duty requirements and increasing the number of women in the job.

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