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BILOXI, Miss. — The Air Force has moved the military trial of an instructor allegedly involved in a sex scandal at a south Texas base to Mississippi.
Col. Polly Kenny, spokeswoman for the Air Force on the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland case, told the Sun Herald that the trial is being held this week at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., because the airman, Tech. Sgt. Bobby D. Bass, was assigned to Keesler when charges were brought against him in 2012.
Penny said Bass is facing charges of cruelty, wrongful sexual contact and assault, all of which stem from his time as a basic training instructor at Lackland AFB in 2009.
More than 30 Lackland instructors have been investigated in the military sex scandal. Nine have been convicted. Their sentences have ranged from prison to hard labor.
While the charges against Bass come from male victims, most of the dozens of cases in the Lackland investigation have involved male drill sergeants and female recruits.
Bass had been a drill sergeant at Lackland before his deployment to Kyrgyzstan in 2007 and 2008 and returned for another stint at Lackland before going to Keesler in August 2010.
He is charged with 11 counts of dereliction of duty, 16 instances of cruelty and maltreatment, two instances of wrongful sexual contact, and four of assaults during his time at Lackland.
Kenny said the prosecution has 26 witnesses, including 20 accusers set to testify. Bass has been assigned a military attorney for his defense and will be given a chance to call witnesses or testify himself, not unlike a civilian criminal trial.
A general court-martial jury does not have to have 12 members but must have at least five. All must out-rank Bass.
He has opted for a mix of officers and enlisted personnel on his jury, Kenny said, and to get a conviction on any one of the charges, two-thirds of the jury must agree.
Bass faces up to life in prison.