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June 29th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

31 victims identified in widening Air Force sex scandal

By Chris Lawrence, CNN

(CNN) - The U.S. Air Force has now identified at least 31 women as victims in a growing sex scandal, a four-star general said Thursday, and there might be more. The Air Force is broadening its investigation to "actively seek any others that may have been affected by this," Gen. Edward Rice, the commander of Air Force Training, said.

"We are taking a comprehensive look not only at the cases that we know, but trying to do the best we can to assess whether or not there are other cases out there," Rice told reporters at the Pentagon.

Rice said the Air Force had taken "the unprecedented step" of shutting down all recruit training for one day to give a written survey to all basic military trainees at Lackland Air Force base. The Texas base has become the focal point of the growing scandal.

Air Force base reports more sexual misconduct charges

One trainer has pleaded guilty to having an improper relationship with a trainee, as part of a plea agreement.

Staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado has been sentenced to 90 days in prison, 30 days hard labor and a demotion in rank and pay. In his plea deal, he also provided testimony against two other trainers who have been charged. He also said he had inappropriate relationships with 10 trainees.

The scandal came to light in June 2011, when a young female trainee came forward and accused her male instructor of assaulting her. Staff Sgt. Luis Walker now faces a general court-martial on 28 charges, including rape, adultery and aggravated sexual assault. He is scheduled to appear in court July 16.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Alkebu

    "When will they ever learn"? Stop violating the trainees.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jorge

    Having an armed force missioned towards the defense of your sovereign nation is a mighty responsibility and a double-edged sword. While your commanding officers and their charges demand the utmost respect for their efforts, the best resources possible and the highest support of their essential needs for them to do their job effectively, they MUST be constantly held to a higher standard of conduct and professional ethics than your civilians, otherwise you end up with the ever-less obedient rogue monsters that scourge many underdeveloped nations and taint the rule of law by threat, skullduggery or force.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. mickey1313

    Hard labor, that is a punishment that should be used in the civilian penal system. Maybe it would be more of a deterrent for repeat offenders. Also give them steel cots, a sheet and that is it. No books no tv, not internet. No weight lifting, no smoking. And feed them grule that has the necessary nutrients, but is cheap and not tasty. Why do we treat criminals so good.

    July 1, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |