Sergeant Sentenced to Jail in Army Sex Scandal
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (AP) _ An Army drill sergeant was sentenced today to five months in jail and given a bad-conduct discharge for having sex with three female recruits.
Staff Sgt. Loren B. Taylor pleaded guilty Tuesday, the same day Army officials announced that two other instructors at Fort Leonard Wood faced similar charges and seven others had been suspended.
The charges were made public five days after a sex scandal broke at the military’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The Army said the two cases are unrelated.
And in another case, The San Antonio Express-News reported today that women Army trainees from Fort Sam Houston kissed their supervisors during wild drinking binges and that one trainee performed oral sex on her supervisor. Five sergeants were disciplined.
Taylor’s bad-conduct discharge is not as severe as a dishonorable discharge. But he must serve his time in military prison with no possibility of parole, and was sentenced to demotion to private and loss of all benefits. His lawyers said the sentence would be appealed.
``It’s not enough time for what he did to me and the others,″ said one of his accusers, former recruit Angelia Shirley, 19, of Vicksburg, Miss.
Taylor, who has 10 years of Army service, asked the judge not to send him to prison so he could continue to support his 7-year-old son, who lives with his former wife.
``I was wrong,″ Taylor said. ``I let my fellow drill sergeants down. I let my chain of command down. I let the Army down.″
The prosecutor, Capt. Mike Formichelli, asked for a sentence that would serve as a deterrent.
Taylor faced a maximum of 14 years in prison.
Taylor pleaded guilty to having consensual sex with three female recruits and trying to have sex with another. Army regulations ban sexual relationships between commanders and subordinates.
Former Pvt. Joy Paulsen, 21, of Kennewick, Wash., testified at today’s hearing that she felt pressured into a relationship with Taylor.
``I was so confused,″ Paulsen said. ``He was my drill sergeant. I was supposed to obey. On the other hand, I didn’t want to do what he was asking me to do.″
Paulsen and Shirley both received medical discharges from the Army.
Taylor also admitted improper contact with a fifth woman recruit.
In exchange for his plea, the Army dropped charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was accused of offering a potential female witness $500 to change her sworn statement.
At Aberdeen, the Army charged four drill instructors and a captain with raping, sexually harassing or having improper contact with at least a dozen women recruits.
The men were suspended along with 15 other instructors. The recruits’ average age was 21.
Courts-martial at Leonard Wood for Sgt. George W. Blackley Jr., of Spartanburg, S.C., and Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Fore, of Detroit, are scheduled next month. Both are accused of offensively touching trainees.
The seven suspended drill sergeants were not charged, but the Army is investigating allegations ranging from giving cigarettes to trainees to improper touching or kissing.
About 25,000 soldiers pass through the south-central Missouri post each year, making it the second-largest of the Army’s four basic training bases. Only Fort Jackson, S.C., is bigger.
The Army said it is investigating all its training bases for sexual misconduct, although officials say there is no connection between the scandals uncovered so far. More than 2,400 calls about wrongdoing have poured into a new Army hot line.
At Fort Sam Houston, drill sergeants and classroom instructors kissed trainees on a dance floor during bus trips to Mexico, three trainees told the Express-News.
The so-called ``Happy Bus″ trips ended in February after the Army investigated and disciplined five sergeants, the paper said, citing Army documents.