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Former MTI gets 6 months; is 17th court-martialed in Lackland sex scandal

Apr. 24, 2013 - 03:21PM   |  
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bobby Bass, who served as an MTI at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from April 2006 to August 2010, was sentenced April 24 to six months in jail and reduced in rank on multiple counts.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bobby Bass, who served as an MTI at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from April 2006 to August 2010, was sentenced April 24 to six months in jail and reduced in rank on multiple counts. (Master Sgt. Thomas Deering/Air Force)
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A former military training instructor convicted of 31 counts of cruelty, assault, wrongful sexual contact and other charges related to his treatment of trainees in 2009 will remain in the Air Force.

A military jury today sentenced Tech. Sgt. Bobby Bass to six months in jail and reduction to staff sergeant following a court-martial at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., where he is a command post controller. On Tuesday, the jury cleared Bass of the forcible sodomy of an airman under his supervision during a deployment to Kyrgyzstan in 2007 and 2008, the most serious charge he faced. But the panel of officers and non-commissioned officers convicted him of ordering trainees to strip naked and enter a shower with dozens of fellow recruits; of ordering trainees to apply Icy Hot to their genitals as punishment; and of physically abusing recruits.

Bass could have received up to 33 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for the convictions.

During three days of testimony, former recruits said Bass ordered them to do physical training in a steamy bathroom with toilets filled with feces and urine. Some testified he forced others to PT in their underwear while other trainees looked on and mocked them. One said Bass called him into his office and ordered him to do push-ups, kicking him in the sternum with the toe of his steel-toed boot each time he reached the rest position.

Bass was an MTI at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from 2006 to 2010. The trial focused mostly one group of trainees from the fall of 2009. The case against him was part of a sexual misconduct scandal that began at Lackland two years ago and involved for the first time male victims.

His case was the only MTI court-martial to be tried at a base other than Lackland.

Bass was the 17th MTI to stand court-martial for alleged misconduct. All but one — whose case was thrown out when a judge ruled evidence was seized illegally — have ended in convictions on at least some charges they faced.

Lackland investigators first learned of the alleged misconduct after authorities began investigating a forcible sodomy accusation against Bass last April, said Col. Polly Kenny, an Air Force attorney.

In addition to acquitting Bass on the sodomy charge — which carried a possible life sentence — the jury found him not guilty of ordering a trainee to write a break-up letter to his girlfriend and of squeezing the shin of a trainee who complained of shin splints.

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