Posted on June 28, 2012 at 7:54 PM
Friday, Jun 29 at 12:22 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- Seven military training Instructors at Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland accused of having inappropriate relationships with trainees are defending themselves in court. The story has garnered national headlines and rocked the Air Force.
The Article 32 Investigation (similar to a preliminary court hearing in civilian court) got under way at Lackland.
Staff Sgt. Craig LeBlanc is a military training instructor (MTI) accused of having sexual relations with trainees while they were in Basic Training. LeBlanc, flanked by his defense team and his mother, made an appearance in military court Thursday.
At the hearing one of the female recruits testified that her trainer, Staff Sgt. LeBlanc, forced her to have sex and then lied about the incident.
Another witness revealed he had known about the relationships for a period of one month before he reported it to superiors.
The defense and the prosecution remain mum about the case, but an Air Force-appointed spokesperson was adamant that the alleged actions of the MTIs involved do not represent those of the Armed Forces.
"But we do have to remember that there are a lot of really good people that are military training instructors who do the right thing.," Col. Polly Kenny said. "Two of which came forward and reported one of their fellow military training instructors for misconduct that they believed needed to be revealed."
"We feel like we are all family and to have to come forward against one of your own -- it's always very difficult to do. It takes a lot of moral courage to come forward against someone."
The instructors face a total of 28 charges of misconduct, including rape, adultery and aggravated assault.