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New Charges At Lackland On 20-Year-Old Case

Eileen Pace
TPR News
Administrative building at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland where legal proceedings are held.

The latest Air Force sexual assault case might have stayed "cold" forever had it not been for a deeper investigation into older, unreported cases. An Article 32 hearing was presented Monday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on new cases stemming from the 1990s.  

The 34 sexual misconduct cases that have played out in Lackland courtrooms for the past two to three years prompted investigators to look back 10 years to see if other cases remained unreported.

Joint Base San Antonio spokesman Brent Boller said investigators recently cast a wider net among former Lackland trainees.

“During the course of the fairly broad investigation that’s been going on into MTI (military training instructor) misconduct, thousands of emails were sent out to those who attended basic training or may have attended basic training over the last ten years. It asked them to come forward if they knew about or if they were victims of any unprofessional conduct by military training instructors," Boller said.

Boller said three old cases surfaced that now are being pursued against Master Sgt. Michael Silva, and they’re some of the oldest cases on the books so far.

“Silva is charged with raping three individuals," Boller said. "One of the charges is based on the allegation of a former trainee that a rape occurred back in 1995.”

Monday’s Article 32 evidentiary hearing convened in that case, plus two cases from 1992 and 1993, and another case from 2007, all of which had been unknown until now. Statements from the alleged victims were introduced but their testimony was not heard.

The Air Force has not said whether other old cases have surfaced as a result of the recent email inquiries. 

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.