At Least 10 Women Raped, Assaulted: Air Force Instructor Gets 20 Years

Sergeant Luis Walker was charged with rape and sexual assault on Saturday and will serve 20 years in prison for his offenses. The scandal took place in one of the most prestigious military training centers in the United States, Lackland Air Force Base, and Walker’s case was only one among many indecent incidents that occurred in the last few years.

Walker is among 12 instructors from Lackland that have been part of a sexual misconduct scandal in recent years, the New York Times reports. All of the instructors face a range of charges after they used their positions of power to dominate female students and sometimes force them into traumatic and compromising positions. A total of 38 women have come forward to testify about the occurrences at the training academy.

Walker faces the most serious charges of all the instructors. It is charged that between the fall of 2010 and into January of 2011, Sergeant Walker participated in and forced sexual misconduct on at least 10 female academy students. Those 10 women gave testimony in court. The New York Times quotes one woman’s testimony during the trial. She recounts the trauma she felt after she had been forced into sexual acts because of Walker’s position of power:

Itís made it extremely hard to interact with authority figures… During my tour in Afghanistan, I was a little bit more scared of everything. I canít work with certain individuals just since they remind me of Staff Sergeant Walker.

Walker and his wife, Yeimi, asked the military to reduce his sentence so that he could continue to raise his two small boys, aged four and seven. The Daily Mail notes that family and old friends testified on Walker’s behalf as an earnest and committed member of the military during the trial. They also provided good character reviews reflecting on his work ethic growing up. He heard the verdict with a steely expression.

The victims of the sexual assaults spoke out with emotion, according to every account of the trial. Many of the women expressed their fear and discomfort with the military and the form of masculinity that allows such sexual assault to occur. One woman also testified that she discouraged other female relatives from joining the military after her experiences, the Daily Mail reports.

Walker was far from the only male at Lackland who misused his authority in relation to female students at the academy. On Thursday, Sgt. Christopher Smith was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a reduction in rank after he was charged with seeking to develop a relationship with a teenage trainee. He was acquitted of trying to make sexual advances on the trainee but will still face a reduction in rank and will no longer be allowed to teach.

Three more instructors face court martials this summer, MSNBC reports. Some officials are asking for a revision to sexual assault policies and prevention programs in the military in order to avoid further scandals. This newest wave of sexual assault cases is the second of this magnitude to occur in 16 years at Lackland Air Force Base.

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Photo Credit: USAF Public Affairs

137 comments

Kay Redmon
Kay Redmon3 years ago

Shame, shame, shame. Why didn't he think of his boys before he started interferring with these young ladies, they have families as well. Did he think he was so powerful he could get away with anything. As little bit of power goes straight to the head & then conjures up all types of animal behaviour that goes with it. I agree, BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. He has ruined the lives of these young women & yet expects to live his own in freedom. It's about time the courts starting handing out some form of punishment instead of a slap on the wrist, but 20 years is not enough..

Laura W.
Laura Wilson3 years ago

ONLY 20 years???!!! For potentially destroying the lives of all these women? We know that for every 1 rape reported,10 go unreported.
This man deserved a life sentence,if ever a person did!

Fi T.
Fi T.3 years ago

The ladies are not supposed to be insulted

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn4 years ago

If, (God forbid), if I'm ever raped, or assaulted, robbed, this is a warning, if my family/boys know who you are, make funeral arrangements because you're going to die.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

All the military services have a culture of machismo and testosterone. ANY authority figure, be he military, religious, political, educational, medical, should be especially aware of the great responsibility he has to guide and teach, not use his authority in coercion. It's sickening. Also sickening, is the family and friends trying to reduce his sentence "so he can raise his boys." Have they learned nothing?! What of these traumatized girls?! Shame on them for attempting to rid of him of his responsibility.

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy4 years ago

This is amazing that this man and others get away with degrading women....women and men should be able to work side by side together no matter where...here we are this is 2012....and our men cannot even behave like decent men...it seems the military would be and should be where men are taught to behave like decent men....a woman should not have to be a nun or be married to be treated well anywhere......it is always the same old story...men can do anything and act any way and women are held up to entirely too much scrutiny....it seems his superiors should be up for some looking into also...someone must have known what he was doing.....the new era wants women back into bare feet and subjected to the evils of mens control....so if you go into the military you should not be considered a target......when will women ever get their rights.......

Jelesia Clyburn
Jelesia Clyburn4 years ago

I'm glad I never got in. I definitely wanted to be a pilot. I will be paying for my own private lessons.

Sammstein M.
samantha M.4 years ago

rapists should die. bring back the death penalty.

Monica D.
M D.4 years ago

Horrible crimes.

Leia P.
Leia P.4 years ago

kill him