Tuesday, February 12, 2008

TNB In The Military: Black U. S. Air Force Colonel Samuel Lofton III Charged With Rape, Larceny, Dereliction Of Duty, Etc. At Sheppard AFB, Texas

TNB doesn't always come wrapped in baggy pants and a hooded sweatshirt. Sometimes it comes wrapped in a three-piece suit, as in the case of former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Hayes.

And, on rare occasion, it comes wrapped in the service dress uniform of a United States military officer.

Update: On June 25th, Col. Lofton was acquitted of rape, but convicted on numerous other charges. Updated post HERE.


Colonel Samuel Lofton III, the former commander of the 82nd Training Group at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX, is presently undergoing an Article 32 hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a possible general court martial against him. An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing. Full stories published in the Air Force Times, HERE and HERE, the Wichita Falls Times-Record, by KSL Channel 5 Salt Lake, and the Associated Press.

Colonel Lofton faces a total of 29 charges, including four counts of indecent assault, two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, 20 counts of larceny, two counts of dereliction of duty, and one count of absence without leave (AWOL) under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Colonel Lofton's legal troubles began in May 2007, when he was relieved of command for “financial misconduct,” according to a news release from the Air Force. Since that time, Lofton has performed various administrative duties with the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard. During the Article 32 hearing, 1st Lt. Clint Cooper, a financial service officer, testified that Lofton used his government travel card to pay for his children's school lunches, buy airline tickets for relatives, eat out and pay a utility bill. Military documents indicate the charges add up to at least $10,000.

In regards to the two women who claim that the colonel assaulted them, including one who alleges he raped her, Colonel Lofton's former secretary Martha Cannon testified that both the accusers constantly flirted with him and frequently went into his office. Cannon testified that the rape accuser acted "like a schoolgirl" around him and went into his office so much that she [Cannon] alerted her supervisors. Cannon then testified that the other accuser, who earlier testified that Lofton forcibly kissed her and put her hand on his genitals on two occasions, always tried to get his attention, had "googly eyes" and got red-faced around Lofton.

According to testimony delivered by the victims, in each alleged sexual assault scenario, Lofton approached the women one-on-one after most of the other workers had left, started with small talk and then placed one of their hands on his trousers, where they felt his erect penis.

One of his alleged victims told Air Force attorneys and an investigating officer that she saw Lofton behind a partition on April 5th, 2007, as she was leaving her office. He rounded the side and she saw his erect penis poking through his Battle Dress Uniform trouser buttonhole, the woman said. She insisted on leaving, the woman said, but Lofton replied, “This will only take a minute.”

Lofton, she alleged, bent her over, pulled her skirt up and raped her. He later asked for her torn pantyhose as a souvenir, she told the attorneys. The two continued to see each other in the hallway, she said, and Lofton exchanged professional pleasantries as if nothing happened.

Upon conclusion of the Article 32 hearing, the investigating officer will prepare a report to the 82nd Training Wing Commander and the 2nd Air Force Commander, which will include a recommendation into whether Lofton should be court-martialed. If the case is referred to a court-martial, a trial date will be set by the government and the defense counsel. If convicted, Colonel Lofton could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The 82nd Training Group provides training for head aircraft mechanics and engine mechanics and teaches airmen how to build and load bombs. It has about 2,100 students at any given time.

There's an interesting discussion of this case on the Military Times Forum. While many who worked for the colonel claim he was a straight-shooter, one person claims the colonel showed favoritism towards a black NCO who got into what would have normally been career-ending trouble, and intervened to mitigate his punishment. Another poster claims the colonel is in the midst of divorce proceedings. Another poster mentioned that the alleged victims weren't young, impressionable female airmen but were experienced civilians, one with 30 years service. The race of the victims has not been reported.

2 comments:

Michael Burks said...

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You get any news of black on white crime, please email it to me. And I will post it.

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