BILOXI -- The prosecution and defense rested Friday morning in the court-martial of a former Air Force basic training instructor accused of abusing his authority over young recruits while at Lackland AFB, Texas, in 2009.
The judge dismissed the jury until 8 a.m. Monday, when they will hear closing arguments and decide the fate of Tech. Sgt. Bobby D. Bass.
The military trial is being held at Keesler AFB because Bass is now stationed there. It is the first case connected with the 2012 Lackland sex scandal to be tried somewhere other than Lackland, the base that handles 35,000 recruits a year for basic training in the Air Force.
The prosecution called 25 witnesses from Wednesday to Friday, most of them men in their early 20s who were young recruits under Bsas' supervision during their basic training.
Some told of being ordered into a shower naked in crowded conditions as punishment, being kicked or required to apply Icy Hot to their genitals.
Bass is accused of cruelty, abusive sexual contact, assault and unprofessional conduct involving alcohol with trainees during his time with the 2009 training group known as the band flight because most of the members played instruments.
In the court-martial, Bass is also accused of forcible sodomy and having an unprofessional relationship with a man he worked with in 2007 and 2008, while deployed at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.
Friday morning, the defense made motions to dismiss some of the 32 charges against Bass from Lackland, asserting they were unreasonably multiplied. And it was noted that of the 50 to 60 members of the basic training group, only about 20 testified.
The judge presiding over the case, Lt. Col. Michael Coco, denied the motions but said if Bass is convicted on any of the multiple charges, he would consider merging them for sentencing.
Friday afternoon, both sides argued before Coco whether the jurors will be allowed to consider sodomy, a lesser charge, if they do not convict Bass on the forcible sodomy charge from his deployment. Under military law, forcible sodomy carries a maximum penalty of life.
Coco ruled that if the jury is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that sodomy occurred, then they can consider convicting Bass of the lesser charge.
The law states that private consensual sex can be criminalized in the military because of the potential for rank disparity.
A win for the defense was that Coco also will give the jury the option of finding that Bass believed the airman was consenting.
The prosecution rested after a little more than two days of testimony this week. Then at 10 a.m. Friday, the defense called one witness and then rested.
Capt. Angelica Worsham, who works in the medical field at Keesler AFB, testified that Bass tested negative for HIV in 2008 and 2011. That was an issue in the trial because the man who is accusing him of forcible sodomy is HIV positive and said he thought Bass had given him the disease.
Throughout the three days of testimony, Bass sat at the defense table emotionless, often with hands folded in front of him and looking straight ahead.
His wife, friends and co-workers at Keesler filtered in and out of the audience throughout the court-martial, some expressing support for Bass.
|Air Force Women in the Military Sexual Harassment|