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Lackland Probe Turns Up More Cases Of Abuse Among Instructors

Eileen Pace | Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio

More cases have come to light in the ongoing Air Force inquiry of military training instructors at Joint Base Lackland. The investigation that unofficially began 18 months ago has revealed an overall problem with abuses of power by instructors.

The first case of sexual assault was reported in June of 2011, and a year later the air education and training commander ordered a command investigation into allegations against more than a dozen training instructors.

As of Thursday, the Air Force confirmed that two additional instructors have come under scrutiny. That brings to 30 the number of instructors that face possible charges.

Joint Base San Antonio spokesman Brent Boller said that not all the charges involve sexual behaviors.

"So we also now have 56 alleged victims, and of those, 13 are alleged sexual assaults, 32 are alleged unprofessional relationships with physical contact, and 11 are unprofessional relationships with no physical contact," Boller said.

Last month, Staff Sgt. Ryan Deraas faced charges of assaulting two male trainees by refusing their requests to use the restroom and then yanking them away from the urinals when they disobeyed that order. Deraas also is accused of maltreatment of his trainees by forcing them to drink toilet water.

A special court-martial is scheduled for Jan. 3 in the case against Staff Sgt. Christopher Jackson, who is accused of having sexual relations with two female trainees.

So far, five former instructors have been convicted; seven are pending court-martial and the remainder are still under investigation.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.