Chief Master Sgt. Jose Barraza, the former command chief of the 12th Air Force, or Air Forces Southern, pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple charges including indecent recording, obstruction of justice, and dereliction of duty.
The court-martial judge sentenced Barraza to 10 months of confinement, a reduction in rank to senior airman, and a reprimand after he pleaded guilty to all charges, according to a statement from Air Combat Command.
Barraza was charged with one specification of willfully disobeying an order, seven specifications of dereliction of duty, two specifications for making false official statements, two specifications of indecent recording, and five specifications of obstruction of justice.
Barraza recorded images and video of two women’s “private area” without their consent, the charge sheet for his case said.
He later deleted contents of his cell phone in an attempt to conceal evidence of unprofessional relationships, and pressured a woman to delete text messages from her cell phone to hide their relationship. Those two actions accounted for two of the five obstruction of justice charges. The other three obstruction charges dealt with his pressuring three women to conceal their sexual relationship with him.
He also falsely told agents from the Office of Special Investigations that his relationship with a woman was professional, but it was actually a sexual relationship. Barraza also lied to investigators when he said he would not sexually pursue someone in AFSOUTH. The charge sheet said those official statements were made with an “intent to deceive.”
The seven dereliction of duty charges dealt with his willful failure “to maintain a professional relationship” with seven different women.
And the charge of willfully disobeying an order concerned his ignoring of an order not to contact another woman. In all, the charges Barraza pleaded guilty to encompassed eight different women.
Barraza’s guilty plea and sentencing marks a considerable fall for a senior non-commissioned officer who, at one point, was held up by the Air Force as an example of how someone can reform after coming from a rough start.
In a January 2014 article in Airman Magazine called “Playing the Pawn,” Barraza spoke about how he left his life as a teenage gang member in Los Angeles for the Air Force. Barraza said in the article that he was the child of two rival gang members and was initiated into a gang with a beating at age 11. He was first shot at age 12, and after he was shot a fifth time, the article said, he realized he needed to leave that life.
“The blue dominating the Air Force recruiting office grabbed his attention because blue was a favored color of his gang affiliation, and the recruiter cinched the deal,” the Airman Magazine article said. “To this day, Barraza calls that day his Air Force birthday, ‘the day when I changed my life.’”