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Master sgt. accused in alleged 1995 rape of basic trainee

Feb. 20, 2014 - 05:28PM   |  
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The Air Force charged a master sergeant with raping three people, including a former recruit in 1995 while he was a military training instructor.

An investigating officer will hear evidence in the case of Master Sgt. Michael Silva at an Article 32 hearing beginning Monday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, according to a news release from the base.

Silva is assigned to the 802nd Force Support Squadron at Lackland.

Air Force spokesman Brent Boller did not have information on when Silva served as a military training instructor. The allegations in the nearly two-decade old case arose during a comprehensive investigation of basic military training that included an email blast to 300,000 former basic trainees asking for information about instructor sexual misconduct, Boller said.

The efforts began after a recruit reported the rape of a fellow trainee by an MTI in summer 2011. Since then, 26 former instructors have been convicted at courts-martial on charges ranging from unprofessional relationships to rape.

The allegation against Silva is by far the oldest. Silva’s case is not included in an official Air Force tally of instructors accused of sexual misconduct, which stands at 34, Boller said.

The Air Force did not immediately release a charge sheet against Silva. The most recent of the three alleged rapes occurred in 2007, Boller said. The third case allegedly occurred between 1992 and 1993, he said.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice places no statute of limitation on rape.

The Air Force has made more than three dozen changes to basic training since the scandal first emerged in 2011, including tougher restrictions on who is selected for the job, shorter tours and greater supervision of MTIs.

There have been no new reports of sexual misconduct against basic trainers since summer 2012.

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