Lackland trainer's trial for sex abuse of airmen under way

April 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM
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BILOXI, Miss., April 16 (UPI) -- Court proceedings have begun against a U.S. Air Force trainer accused of sexually assaulting an airman and abusing others in basic training, the military said.

Military prosecutors said Tech Sgt. Bobby Bass is accused of ordering male recruits strip naked in a latrine and do physical training while he watched them, the San Antonio Express-News said Tuesday. He sometimes ordered the recruits to touch each other and in one instance, prosecutors said Bass ordered two naked recruits to rub the muscle relaxer Icy Hot on their genitals.

The alleged abuses took place while Bass was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas where widespread allegations of sexual abuse have been uncovered.

"I think that we're all concerned there are cases out there, not just from this incident but what we've discovered from the increased scrutiny and widening investigative effort that the Air Force has put into Lackland," said Col. Polly Kenny, staff judge advocate for the 2nd Air Force stationed at Keeler AFB in Biloxi, Miss., where Bass is stationed now and where his trial is taking place.

Preliminary arguments were made Monday and scheduled to continue Tuesday. Jury selection could begin as soon as Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Bass is charged with dereliction of duty, mistreating a trainee, forcibly sodomizing an airman from 2007 to 2008 and having an inappropriate sexual relationship.

He faces life in prison if convicted.

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