Target: Col. William E. Orr, Jr., Chief Appellate Military Judge for the US Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
Goal: Punish sexual offenders in the Air Force by issuing Dishonorable Discharges to all guilty parties.
This past Saturday, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, an instructor in the US Air Force, was found guilty of all 28 charges pinned against him. Charges included aggravated sexual contact, rape, and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault. Because of the occasional overlap in charges, the judge condensed the counts down to 20; however, this did not have any effect on his sentence. Walker faces life in prison and a dishonorable discharge.
Unfortunately, Walker is not alone. Another 11 instructors from the same base, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, are currently under investigation concerning alleged sexual misconduct with at least 31 female trainees. Of these, six instructors are being charged with an array of counts from adultery to rape.
For many of the women involved, this is more than just a violation of rights and trust; these incidences have come to affect the way they work and hold relationships with other people. “It’s made it extremely hard to interact with authority figures,” explained a woman who testified against Walker. “During my tour in Afghanistan, I was a little bit more scared of everything. I can’t work with certain individuals just since they remind me of Staff Sgt. Walker.”
Because Lackland is largely occupied by men—approximately 80% of the 35,000 recruits that graduate every year are male, as are 90% of the 475 instructors—it must be a loud voice that speaks on behalf of the abused women. While Walker awaits the possibility of being issued a dishonorable discharge, leaders must use this opportunity to take a firm stand against all such abuses. Sign the petition to ensure all service members found guilty of sexual assault are issued Dishonorable Discharges.
Dear Col. Orr,
Staff Sgt. Luis Walker is just one man in a long line of those who have used their positions of power to abuse female recruits. After being found guilty of numerous charges of rape, aggravated sexual contact, and aggravated sexual assault, it is clear that all semblances of honor need no longer apply to Walker.
As women make up a small minority of the population at bases like the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, it becomes even more important to act on behalf of their best interests. In order to best ensure that women (and men) are not subjected to sexual abuse and misconduct at the hands of their superiors, harsh punishments need to be assigned to those found guilty. By guaranteeing that Dishonorable Discharges are issued to all staff found guilty of sexual misconduct, the United States can hopefully deter others from committing these crimes in the future.
[Your Name Here]