5th Aberdeen instructor faces court-martial Drill sergeant charged with indecent assault

January 29, 1997|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,SUN STAFF

A drill sergeant at Aberdeen Proving Ground has been charged with indecent assault involving a former female trainee, becoming the fifth instructor at the base to face a court-martial in the Army sex scandal.

Sgt. William Jones, 34, a drill sergeant with B Company of the 16th Ordnance Battalion, faces one count of indecent assault involving a former trainee, who was a civilian at the time of the alleged offense.

Jones, who arrived at Aberdeen in January 1995, also faces one charge of being drunk on duty and seven counts of fraternizing with recruits that involve six female trainees.

The alleged offenses occurred from February to August 1996.

Jones will face a special court-martial, as opposed to a general court-martial, which is used for more serious offenses.

Discharge granted

One captain and two sergeants at Aberdeen face general courts-martial beginning in March on charges ranging from prohibited personal relationships to rape and forcible sodomy.

A third sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Theron Brown, who was charged Jan. 16 with sodomy, adultery and other violations, requested and received "a discharge in lieu of court-martial."

Jones, a Florida native who joined the Army in 1981, could face a maximum punishment of six months' confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of pay and allowances for six months, reduction in grade to private and a bad-conduct discharge.

His lawyer did not return a call requesting a comment.

More than 200 calls logged

Since the scandal broke at APG's U.S. Ordnance Center and School last fall, about 50 female recruits have said they were victims of sexual misconduct during the past two years. Twenty noncommissioned officers have been suspended during the investigation, including those facing courts-martial.

The Army, which has set up a toll-free hot line, is investigating more than 200 allegations throughout the service.

The Army inspector general's office has mounted an investigation, and a review panel of civilians and military officers has been named by Army Secretary Togo West.

Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on the sex scandal for Tuesday at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington. Among those scheduled to testify are West; Army Chief of Staff Dennis J. Reimer; Lt. Gen. Jared L. Bates, the Army's inspector general; and Brig. Gen. Daniel L. Doherty, commander of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.

Pub Date: 1/29/97

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