Air Force sergeant guilty of rape

March 17, 2013 at 12:34 AM
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SAN ANTONIO, March 17 (UPI) -- Staff Sgt. Eddy Soto, a boot camp instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, was sentenced to four years in prison Saturday for raping a female airman.

Soto, who had pleaded guilty to five counts, also was given a dishonorable discharge by Lt. Col. Matthew Van Dale, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Soto, 30, is the second trainer at the base to be convicted of rape since trials began last spring in the instructor misconduct scandal. Staff Sgt. Luis Walker received a 20-year sentence last July.

The newspaper noted prosecutors had sought 12-15 years for Soto, who could have received life without parole. Soto's attorney had asked for punishment "that does not sacrifice the remainder of his life."

While Soto admitted to having sex with an airman in technical school and another woman who had come to see her husband graduate from basic training, the married father of two daughters denied raping a 29-year-old woman, identified as Airman 2, who had been in his basic training flight.

Prosecutors alleged Soto raped Airman 2 after she she told him she didn't want to have sex with him. The defense contended she wanted to have a relationship with the sergeant, pointing out made repeated trips from California to San Antonio to see him.

A total of 33 instructors have come under the scrutiny of Air Force investigators and 63 airmen in basic and technical training have come forward as victims, including four men.

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