US female military officers have been major victims of sexual assault by their instructors and commanders over the years.
A US Air Force training officer at a Texas air base has been found guilty of raping a former trainee at a court-martial amid persisting reports of widespread sexual misconduct in the US military.
Staff Sgt. Eddy Soto’s military trial on Saturday at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio proceeded directly into the sentencing phase as he may potentially receive a sentence of life imprisonment without parole while the US military has come under growing pressure for ignoring pervasive sexual harassment and rape in its ranks.
Soto, according to an AP report, had already pleaded guilty to five counts that include raping a female trainee and the wife of a male trainee.
Military prosecutors have also alleged that Soto raped another woman “who had flown from California to San Antonio to visit him on the condition of no sex,” the report adds.
Over 30 Air Force instructors at the Texas air base have so far been investigated, with six convicted of misconduct.
This is while more than 40 women officers at the base were either raped, sexually harassed or had “inappropriate contact” with Air Force instructors, according to investigators cited in the report.
A number of high ranking US military commanders have recently been convicted and relieved of duties for multiple sexual offenses and corruption over the years.