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Cleared of all charges, blue-rope MTI back on the job

Jul. 31, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Gayden ()
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A military training instructor acquitted Friday of all charges in the rape case against him has returned to duty at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Tech. Sgt. Marc Gayden worked as an instructor MTI when a former basic trainee told investigators he had sexually assaulted her in his office two years earlier. As with all instructors accused of sexual misconduct, Gayden was removed from the job pending the outcome of the case.

The 11-year Air Force veteran had worked as an MTI since June 2009 and was part of an elite cadre of MTIs known as “blue ropes” before the allegation emerged.

A military jury of officers and noncommissioned officers found Gayden not guilty of rape, forcible sodomy and having an unprofessional relationship with the recruit late Friday at the conclusion of a four-day trial.

On Wednesday, Gayden returned to his regular job training MTIs, said Air Force spokeswoman Collen McGee. “He has been reinstated. His campaign hat was returned, along with his blue rope.”

Gayden was the 25th MTI court-martialed in the basic training sexual misconduct scandal. He is the only one to be acquitted of all charges. Some of the former instructors were found guilty of lesser charges, however.

“The MTI hat is removed temporarily until the conclusion is reached,” McGee said. “He was acquitted. Just like any MTI who is [cleared of misconduct], he is reinstated. The rule isn’t any different just because it was elevated to court-martial.”

His accuser, called Airman 1 in charging documents, said Gayden forced himself on her in his office on Christmas Eve 2010 while the rest of her flight was at physical training. Like most of the alleged victims in the MTI cases, she did not report her story until investigators sought her out.

Gayden’s defense said Airman 1 made up the charges to help save her ailing marriage.

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