Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bobby Bass, who served as an MTI at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from April 2006 to August 2010, was cleared on a forcible sodomy charge, but found guilty on multiple counts of cruelty, assault, wrongful sexual contact, dereliction of duty and violating regulations. (Master Sgt. Thomas Deering / Air Force)
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A jury this afternoon cleared a former military training instructor of the forcible sodomy of an airman under his supervision during a deployment to Kyrgyzstan in 2007 and 2008 but convicted him on more than two dozen counts of cruelty, assault, wrongful sexual contact, dereliction of duty and violating lawful regulations involving basic trainees.
Tech. Sgt. Bobby Bass, an instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from 2006 to 2010, had faced up to life in prison on the forcible sodomy charge. He now faces up to 33 years when the sentencing phase of the court-martial reconvenes at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., where Bass is a command post controller.
The jury of officers and non-commissioned officers also cleared Bass of ordering one trainee to strip naked and enter a shower with dozens of other trainees but found him guilty of doing the same to more than a dozen other recruits in the fall of 2009. He was acquitted on forcing a trainee to write a break-up letter to his girlfriend and squeezing the shin of an unknown trainee suffering from shin splints.
Bass was convicted on charges related to other humiliating and sometimes painful tasks: ordering trainees to do push-ups in a steamy bathroom where toilets were filled with feces and urine; physical training in their underwear and rubbing muscle cream on their genitals; slamming them into walls and kicking one recruit in the sternum with the toe of his steel-toed boot during push-ups.
The case against Bass was part of a sexual misconduct scandal that began at Lackland two years ago and involved for the first time alleged male victims. It is the only MTI court-martial to be tried at a base other than Lackland.
Bass was the 17th MTI to stand court-martial for alleged misconduct. All but one — whose case was thrown out when a judge ruled evidence was seized illegally — have ended in convictions on at least some charges they faced.
Lackland investigators first learned of the alleged misconduct after authorities began investigating a forcible sodomy accusation against Bass last April, said Col. Polly Kenny, an Air Force attorney.