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Texas military recruiter to be sentenced for sex crimes

Trust is required to forge relationships. No one is trusted more than a person in authority — parents, teachers, bosses, coaches and spiritual leaders. The military requires recruits to respond to superiors’ demands without question. Sometimes people who hold great power use it to take advantage of others.

The U.S. Air Force conducts training for all new recruits in Texas at Joint Base San Antonio. Sixty-seven trainees or recruits at the base have filed complaints of sexual misconduct. Among the allegations were several against a male recruiter who operated a Houston office.

The defendant pleaded guilty to nearly two dozen instances of wrongdoing and six charges. A military panel found the recruiter guilty of multiple crimes but dismissed separate charges of rape and sexual assault involving two alleged victims. A lifetime prison sentence is possible for the conviction on aggravated, wrongful and abusive sexual contact, exposure and nonforcible sodomy charges.

The stories of two women, identified as Victims 7 and 9, were placed before the panel. Defense attorneys painted the man as a "persistent suitor" rather than a sexual predator. The lawyers successfully convinced the panel that the women’s physical relationships with the recruiter weren’t entirely forced.

Prosecutors said both women were in precarious positions with a military superior. The alleged victims admitted they were worried about consequences for spurning the recruiter’s aggressive advances.

Victim 9 told the court that her relationship with the recruiter began as a professional one. The defendant reportedly flirted using text messages, some of which were sexually explicit. The woman was initially receptive but did not welcome the attention as the pursuit progressed.

Victims who fear an attacker’s authority remain silent. Many victims wait years to talk about their experiences or think they won’t be believed. A sexual abuser cannot be held responsible for criminal acts or civil damages unless victims are willing to participate in their own quest for justice.

Source: mysanantonio.com, "Recruiter acquitted of rape, but guilty on lesser charges" Sig Christenson, Jun. 13, 2013

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