Air Force Staff Sgt. Craig LeBlanc pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to nine of the 12 charges he faces for allegedly having sex wtih a female recruit. ()
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The judge in the court-martial of a military training instructor accused of sexually assaulting a recruit ruled today that the Air Force chief of staff did not unlawfully influence the case when he told lawmakers last month that MTIs who have sexual relationships with trainees do not belong in the military.
Staff Sgt. Craig Leblanc, the latest MTI to stand trial on charges of sexual misconduct, had asked the judge to dismiss the case based on statements made by Gen. Mark Welsh during a Jan. 23 congressional hearing into the basic training scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
"An individual who is serving as a military training instructor who has a relationship like this with a trainee has no place in our Air Force," Welsh said.
LeBlanc is accused of luring a recruit to a storage closet and having sex with her hours before she left basic for technical training. The defense has called the act consensual; prosecutors call it aggravated sexual assault. He is also accused of having a sexual relationship with a second trainee, trying to develop a relationship with a third trainee, obstruction of justice, making false official statements and adultery.
Following today's ruling by military judge Col. Donald R. Eller Jr., Leblanc pleaded guilty to nine of the dozen charges and specifications he faces.
He pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge, trying to have a personal relationship with the third trainee and making a false official statement related to that investigation, Boller said.
Leblanc could receive more than 52 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge if convicted on all the charges. He faces more than 15 years on the charges he pleaded guilty to.