An Article 32 hearing is underway at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in the case against Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez, who ran an Air Force recruiting office in Lake Jackson, Texas, south of Houston.
Rodriguez faces a possible life sentence on allegations that he made unwanted sexual contact with more than a dozen young women who once considered joining the Air Force.
The charges ranging from indecent conduct to sodomy and rape. He is accused of sending almost a thousand emails to one alleged victim, many with nude or suggestive photos of himself attached.
The woman was a 17-year-old high school ROTC student at the time, and Lt. Col. Mark Hoover, with the San Antonio Judge Advocate General's office, said the witness testified that she had a passion for the Air Force, but ended up joining the Navy instead.
"She essentially said that she wanted to end the email communications and the texts back and forth. She said that she feared retaliation if she stopped, or if she didn't send pictures that he asked for, that her potential career in the Air Force could be damaged,” Hoover said.
Special Investigator Mark Ryan testified he searched the tech sergeant’s military-assigned cell phone records and found hundreds of text messages to other women and would-be recruits.
In all, he said 14 other Air Force applicants had been contacted with sexually explicit messages from Rodriguez, and the majority of the women ended up not joining the Air Force.