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Sex Probe Balloons to 38 Victims at Air Force Base

Instructors may have preyed on recruits at basic training
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2012 12:06 AM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2012 12:31 AM CDT
Sex Probe Balloons to 38 Victims at Air Force Base
Air Force Staff Sgt. Luis Walker arrives for the fourth day of his trial at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Friday, July 20, 2012. Walker is accused of sexually assaulting 10 basic trainees, with charges ranging from rape and aggravated sexual assault to obstructing justice and violating...   (AP Photo/San Antonio Express News, Billy Calzada)

A sex assault and harassment probe at a Texas Air Force base has been expanded to 15 instructors, and the number of possible victims is now up to 38. "There may be others as we continue the investigation" at the Lackland base in San Antonio, said an Air Force spokesman. "We’ve always known this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said the founder of a group that supports sexual trauma victims in the military. “In all likelihood we are just beginning to document how horrible this problem really is.” A military jury last week sentenced former instructor Staff Sgt. Luis Walker to 20 years in prison for the rape of one trainee and sexual assault of several others. The counts against Walker were the most severe so far in the probe.

Four other instructors currently face court martial charges concerning sex and recruits. To date, the Air Force has permanently removed 36 instructors for reasons including misconduct, failure to meet standards, and "medical issues," reports the San Antonio Express. "We have said from the outset of these investigations that we will investigate every lead, and we don’t know who or how many instances of unprofessional conduct may turn up,” said an Air Force spokesman. All Air Force recruits go through basic training at Lackland. The base has some 500 instructors, most of them male, for 35,000 recruits annually. One in five of the trainees are female, notes AP. (More Texas stories.)

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