Tinker court-martial: Recruiter found guilty of being derelict in his duties

The recruiter was ordered to 30 days confinement and reduction one rank to senior airman. The conviction comes at the same time as a report about the sexual abuse of women recruits undergoing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.
by Phillip O'Connor Published: November 14, 2012
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Relationship reported

In the Tinker case, the woman told how she met her recruiter in February 2010, a few months before she entered the Air Force's Delayed Entry Program. She said Lewis gave her his personal phone number and that they exchanged sexually explicit text messages.

They went out a few times after the Whiteman trip including another rendezvous in a Kansas City motel room before she left for basic training that September, she said.

She said the relationship ended naturally and with no animosity and that she hadn't seen Lewis in more than a year.

She said she was surprised when military investigators contacted her earlier this year. She said they asked her to contact Lewis by telephone to see if he would confirm the relationship. When she did so, he denied any relationship, she said.

The recruit acknowledged she went out with Lewis willingly, never felt pressured and that she considered herself in a dating relationship with him. She said she never complained, never filed harassment allegations or felt mistreated and that Lewis's support helped get her through basic training. A fellow recruiter reported the inappropriate contact between Lewis and the recruit to a supervisor. An investigation was initiated.

The woman, who now serves as Mandarin Chinese cryptologic-linguist, said the relationship has not hurt her military career and that she holds no bad feelings toward the Air Force.

The military prosecutor emphasized that Air Force regulations clearly prohibit recruiters from even holding hands let alone engaging in a sexual relationship with a recruit.

Other recruiters testified that they were repeatedly warned by superiors and received frequent training to avoid such relationships.

In arguing for leniency for his client, Lewis' lawyer cited the sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, 60, noting a personal indiscretion cost the nation a quality leader.

He said Lewis might have exercised poor judgment but questioned whether it warranted a court-martial.

He called Lewis' prosecution “irrational.” Lewis did not testify.

High-ranking scandal

Petraeus, a highly decorated former four-star general who once commanded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned as CIA director last week after admitting to an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, a 40-year-old Army reservist. The affair came to light after a Tampa socialite, Jill Kelley, received what she considered threatening emails from Broadwell and contacted the FBI.

That same FBI investigation also turned up evidence that Gen. John Allen, head of coalition forces in Afghanistan, may have been sending potentially inappropriate emails to Kelley, who frequently hosted parties and other events involving senior leaders from U.S. Central Command in Florida. On Tuesday, Department of Defense Director Leon Panetta ordered an investigation. Allen's scheduled transfer to oversee NATO and American forces in Europe has been put on hold.

by Phillip O'Connor
Enterprise Editor
O'Connor joined the Oklahoman staff in June, 2012 after working at The Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch for a combined 28 years. O'Connor, an Oklahoma City resident, is a graduate of Kansas State University. He has written frequently...
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The reforms proposed will not fix the systemic cultural and legal biases that preclude justice for victims of military sexual assault. And the issues confronting the challenges of reporting a rape or assault need more examination.”

Nancy Parrish

President of Protect our Defenders, an advocacy

group, about the report on Lackland Air Force Base

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