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Chief Master Sergeant Pleads Guilty in Sexual Misconduct Case

In a 2014 file photo, U.S. Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Jose Barraza, 3rd Wing command chief, speaks to airmen and family members at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska (PETER REFT/U.S. AIR FORCE)
In a 2014 file photo, U.S. Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Jose Barraza, 3rd Wing command chief, speaks to airmen and family members at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska (PETER REFT/U.S. AIR FORCE)

Updated at 1:48 p.m. Eastern

A former 12th Air Force command chief master sergeant pleaded guilty to 17 Uniform Code of Military Justice charges, including two sexual misconduct charges, in front of a military judge Thursday.

Chief Master Sgt. Jose A. Barraza was sentenced to 10 months' confinement, reduction in rank to E-4 and a reprimand, according to a release from Air Combat Command.

Barraza's court-martial was held this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in front of Col. Shelly W. Schools, the judge who handed down his sentence.

Barraza, formerly a member of the 12th Air Force commander's advisory team, originally faced 15 violations under the UCMJ, but the service in May added two sexual misconduct specifications under Article 120c after an Air Force Office of Special Investigations inquiry, officials told Military.com at the time.

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UCMJ Article 120c charges stipulate offenses such as indecent viewing, recording or broadcast, forcible pandering, or indecent exposure. The rule was added in 2012 to address miscellaneous sexual misconduct.

The original charges include one specification for willfully disobeying an order, seven specifications for dereliction of duty, two specifications for making false official statements, and five specifications for obstruction of justice in violation of UCMJ Articles 90, 92, 107 and 134 respectively, according to a statement from the command.

Col. Scott C. Campbell, commander of the 355th Fighter Wing, preferred the original charges March 30 and the additional charges May 18.

Barraza was removed from his position in November due to "loss of confidence in his ability to carry out his duties," the Air Force said at the time.

Barraza attempted to conceal evidence of multiple unprofessional sexual relationships, according to a report from Air Force Times, citing his charge sheet.

According to the report, Barraza persuaded one female victim to delete text message exchanges on her cell phone. Additionally, he deleted images and videos from his cell phone, reportedly including images of another woman's "private area" taken without her consent.

Maj. Malinda Singleton, ACC spokeswoman, told Military.com on Friday that Barraza failed to maintain "professional relationships" with seven female airmen, which led to seven specifications under Article 92, or a failure to follow orders or regulations.

Furthermore, under Article 90, or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer, there was a "no contact order" issued against Barraza for an eighth female airman, she said.

Whether Barraza will retire is undetermined, Singleton said.

"A general court-martial does not have the authority to adjudge an administrative discharge, determine service characterization, or whether a retirement in lieu of discharge will be accepted," she said in a follow-up email.

"Those decisions will be considered by the appropriate authority in accordance with Air Force Instructions, such as AFI 36-3208 Administrative Separation of Airmen, at the appropriate time. As for that timeline, we don't have that information at this time," Singleton said.

Throughout the legal process, Barraza remained assigned to the 355th Operations Group at Davis-Monthan, where he continued to carry out duties, the ACC has said.

He joined the service in 1989, according to Stars and Stripes.

Barraza began his 12th Air Force post in 2015; he was responsible for all enlisted personnel in the wing. The 12th Air Force, or Air Forces Southern, has a dual mission as an Air Combat Command component numbered Air Force and as the air component for U.S. Southern Command.

A determination was made that Air Combat Command would be the lead communicator on the case instead of Davis-Monthan, an official said.

A timeline for Barraza's crimes has not been disclosed.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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Oriana Pawlyk Headlines Air Force Crime in the Military

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