Attorneys for Staff Sgt. Craig LeBlanc at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland initiated a vigorous defense Wednesday, but the military judge denied the motion for a directed verdict on LeBlanc’s aggravated sexual assault charge.
The defense said the government had not proven the alleged victim was in fear of losing her military career. But the government successfully argued that the environment in which LeBlanc placed the woman conveyed fear: The room was almost completely dark and he was sitting in a chair, patting his leg to get the woman to sit on his lap.
During this incident, there was another MTI in the room. Kwinton Estacio was convicted last fall on one charge of having an improper sexual relationship with a different trainee; a jury acquitted Estacio of the more serious charge of wrongful sexual contact.
A third airman also testified Wednesday. LeBlanc is charged with trying to start a relationship with her last August by flirting with her at the Rebar Club, texting her and inviting her to a pool party. The airman became tearful on the stand as she recalled the conversation.
She said LeBlanc asked her what she would think if she knew he was one of the training instructors accused in the sex scandal at Lackland. The airman said she refused LeBlanc’s advances because she knew from her training that having a relationship with an instructor was not permitted.
In LeBlanc’s case, the military judge will make the ultimate decision, and the difference could hinge on the issue of consent. LeBlanc pled guilty to nine of the 12 charges and faces up to 52 years in prison if convicted on the remaining three.