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Air Force holds sexual assault offenders accountable, convictions now online

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The Air Force now publishes sexual assault convictions online at www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution/index.asp.

This is a public website that anyone can access to review more than 100 sexual assault convictions from across the Air Force. After a few minutes of reviewing the facts of these cases, you will soon see many cases are very similar -- they typically involve the following: 1) The use of alcohol
2) The absence of personal respect for the victim and
3) The absence of the victim's consent.

You will also quickly see that Airmen who are convicted of sexual assault can be held accountable by military judges and court-martial panels with punishments that often include jail time, rank reductions and punitive discharges.

A number of these cases involve Airmen assaulting fellow Airmen. Many times these victims were co-workers and former friends -- people who trusted their assailant. The offenders elected to violate that trust and were punished accordingly. As required by many state laws, convicted Airmen must also register in their jurisdiction's sexual assault registry. These sex offender lists include the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders, and are publicly available on-line.

Recently, a Tinker Airman, Senior Airman Courtney D. Waddell, 72nd Security Forces Squadron, was court-martialed for and convicted of committing sexual assault. Like many other cases, the victim was intoxicated.

Airman Waddell knew the victim was too drunk to consent because he watched her drinking throughout the evening and saw her vomiting in the bathroom at his house. Airman Waddell spoke with the victim's sister on the phone, a fellow Airman, and promised the victim's sister that nothing would happen, that the victim could sleep in his bed, and that he would sleep in his clothes on the couch. Despite making these promises, Airman Waddell sexually assaulted the victim. As a result of his conviction, Airman Waddell has a federal conviction on his record and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Additionally, Airman Waddell's punishment included reduction to the grade of E-1 and a punitive discharge from the Air Force.

I encourage all Airmen to visit the website and review the facts of the cases, then educate and warn your fellow Airmen about the consequences of committing these crimes. When you see a situation that isn't right, be a good wingman; intervene and insist your fellow Airman treat others with respect and dignity. You will regret being a passive bystander when a few words of intervention can forever positively change the lives of Airmen around you.