Court-Martial Testimony: Culture Of Power Kept Trainee Silent

Jan 30, 2013

A witness in the latest court-martial of a Lackland Air Force Base training instructor told a jury Tuesday that she was afraid to tell the instructor to stop touching her because he was her superior.

The command-directed investigation last fall found that command failures and gaps in institutional safeguards allowed a culture of abuse and secrecy to grow at Lackland.

Staff Sgt. Donald Davis is the seventh MTI to go to trial in the growing sex scandal at the nation’s Air Force boot camp training facility.

Davis is charged with abusive sexual contact with the trainee, and other offenses with a second female trainee. The witness said Davis measured her breasts, waist and buttocks to ostensibly check her progress in physical training.

The airman is not the first to tell investigators that she was trained to follow orders and feared professional retaliation if she spoke out.

So far, 32 instructors are suspected in crimes against 59 alleged victims, including three male trainees.