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Former MTI sentenced to 60 days in jail

Apr. 20, 2013 - 10:23AM   |  
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A military judge on April 17 sentenced a former military training instructor to 60 days in jail and busted him from master sergeant to staff sergeant for having an unprofessional relationship with a basic trainee, adultery and obstruction of justice.

Joseph P. Thornberry, who also must forfeit $1,000 in pay, will remain in the Air Force, at least for now. Thornberry became the 15th MTI convicted at court-martial since a sexual misconduct scandal first unfolded at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in June 2011. He is only the second master sergeant named in the scandal.

In March, former Master Sgt. Jamey Crawford received a seven-month jail sentence, two months of hard labor, reduction to senior airman and a bad conduct discharge for having sexual relationships with trainees, including a woman who had just graduated from basic training.

Most of the MTIs charged in the scandal have been staff sergeants. New rules at basic military training now require MTIs to have reached the rank of at least technical sergeant.

The Air Force has investigated 33 instructors. Eight more court-martials are pending; seven investigations are ongoing. Three former MTIs received administrative punishment for their roles in the scandal.

The service is aware of 63 victims and alleged victims in the 33 cases, according to the most recent count available.

All but one of the trainers named so far have been men. Staff Sgt. Emily Allen faces a special court-martial May 1 for allegedly having an unprofessional relationship.

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