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Columbus Airman found guilty during court-martial

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- On Aug. 18, a Columbus Air Force Base Airman First Class was convicted in a general court-martial.

The Airman was charged with Sexual Abuse of a Child, by lewd acts, in violation of Article 120b, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Investigation into the misconduct began after the Airman's wife discovered he was texting inappropriate messages to her 13-year-old sister.  Further investigation disclosed that the Airman engaged in numerous text message conversations over the course of approximately one month with the minor.  A number of messages sent by the Airman to the minor child were of an indecent and sexual nature.  

The Airman pled guilty to the charge and its specification alleging the violation of Article 120b.  After accepting the accused's guilty plea, the military judge sentenced the Airman to a reduction in rank to the grade of E-1, total forfeitures of pay and allowances, a dishonorable discharge from the Air Force, and 11 months confinement. There was a pre-trial agreement in the case which will limit the confinement portion of the sentence to no more than 10 months.

The Government Trial Counsel in the case, Capt. Luke McPherson, 14th Flying Training Wing Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, said the law is designed to protect minors in these types of situations.  "It is important for all Airmen to remember even with online forums and in mobile communications; there are still boundaries when dealing with children.  This Airman went down a road he never should have gone down with a minor, and in the process, broke the law."