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Instructor slapped with jail term

SAN ANTONIO — A US Air Force basic training instructor was sentenced to 30 days in jail yesterday and had his rank reduced after being convicted of improper sexual misconduct at a court martial, one of seven cases in the worst military sex scandal since 1996.

Technical Sergeant Christopher Smith, 33, could have faced a year in prison and being kicked out of the Air Force with a bad conduct discharge. He was reduced to the rank of Airman First Class.

He was found guilty late Wednesday of having unprofessional relationships with two female basic trainees.

Seven trainers at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio have been charged with sexual misconduct. The latest, Staff Sergeant Jason Manko, was charged on Thursday, Air Force officials said.

Smith’s conviction comes less than two weeks after another trainer was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rape or sexual assault of 10 female recruits.

A third trainer earlier pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct.

Smith can remain in the military after he finishes his sentence, though not as a military training instructor.

A total of 38 women have come forward to claim they were victims of inappropriate conduct at the hands of their basic training instructors.

In a mixed verdict, a jury found Smith guilty of seeking to develop an intimate relationship with a teenage trainee, but cleared him of charges of making sexual advances. Smith was found guilty of having a personal social relationship with a second female trainee. (Reuters)

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