Air Force sex assault trial involving two airmen goes to jury

The trial of an Air Force instructor accused of sexually abusing an airman – and more than a dozen others – went to the jury Friday in what is being called the worst sex scandal in Air Force history.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Tech. Sgt. Bobby Bass faces life in prison on charges of cruelty, wrongful sexual contact and assault in the case of the airman, and of abusing 16 other recruits in basic training.

Both the prosecution and defense wrapped their cases Friday, according to the paper, with the case now in the hands of a military jury. 

Bass is one of 33 instructors at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland who have been investigated  in what has become the Air Force's worst sex scandal, the San Antonio Express-News reported. So far, investigators have found 63 victims, but they continue to look into new cases.

Nine former Lackland instructors have been convicted in the scandal, and at least 14 instructors have reportedly been tried over the past year in connection with criminal acts that occurred at Lackland over the last decade.

According to the Chronicle, the Air Force said Bass is being tried at Keesler Air Base in Biloxi, Miss., because the airman was stationed there when the allegations against him surfaced, although the accusation of forcible sodomy reportedly stems from an incident between Oct. 22, 2007, and Jan. 31, 2008, while Bass was stationed at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan.

On Friday, the airman at the center of that charge reportedly testified he awoke from a drunken stupor to find Bass having sex with him.

Most of Bass’s legal woes, however, stem from mistreating trainees under his command while at Lackland, according to the San Antonio News-Express.

In one instance, Bass reportedly ordered recruits to stand against a wall, touching it with one arm, while naked as he watched.

The charge sheet against Bass reportedly states that that incident occurred between Aug. 1, when his unit began training, and Oct. 31, 2009, when its members graduated.

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