Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Air Force relieves commander over sex scandal at Lackland

AUSTIN, Texas — The fallout from a sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base widened Friday when the military ousted the top commander over the basic training unit where investigators say dozens of female recruits were sexually assaulted or harassed by their male instructors.

Col. Glenn Palmer had arrived at Lackland last year and was in charge when allegations involving more than a dozen instructors began to mount within his 737th training group. Collen McGee, spokeswoman for the Lackland training wing, said it was decided the unit needed new leadership.

"But Col. Palmer did not create the environment that created the misconduct," McGee said.

Military prosecutors have investigated more than a dozen instructors at Lackland and charged six with crimes ranging from rape to adultery. Officials said Palmer was not facing any criminal charges and that his new assignment had not yet been determined.

Lackland is where every new recruit reports for eight weeks of basic training. About 35,000 graduate each year. About one in five recruits is female, while most instructors are male.

The first allegations began a year ago. The most serious allegations involved an instructor sentenced to 20 years in prison last month after being convicted of raping one female recruit and sexually assaulting several others. Staff Sgt. Luis Walker was sentenced in a military courtroom at Lackland.

Removing Palmer from command was Col. Eric Axelbank, commander of the entire 37th Training Wing. The Air Force also announced Friday that Axelbank will be moving on. Military officials stressed, however, that Axelbank's departure was just a normal change in command and not tied to the Lackland scandal.

Comments
Video: Trump admitted he attacks press to shield himself from negative coverage, Lesley Stahl says

Video: Trump admitted he attacks press to shield himself from negative coverage, Lesley Stahl says

One of the foremost broadcast journalists in the country said this week that President Donald Trump admitted to her that his relentless attacks on the press was a strategy to discredit reporters and news media organizations to shield himself from neg...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
A chronic lack of sleep could lead to decreased brain function, study finds

A chronic lack of sleep could lead to decreased brain function, study finds

A sleep study revealed that less than six hours of sleep a day can limit the brain’s ability to function properly.The study, published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people experiencing less than...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg-based contract electronics company Jabil announced Wednesday it has expanded in Israel by opening an Optics Technology Innovation Center.The 2,000-sqaure-foot complex is in Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. "Our Optics Innovation Cen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Waiting for ‘Godot’ to end: Half-okay performances mar an already irritating classic at Hat Trick

Waiting for ‘Godot’ to end: Half-okay performances mar an already irritating classic at Hat Trick

CLEARWATER — Hat Trick Theatre, the resident company of Ruth Eckerd Hall, closes out its season with Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. I must say it’s a stark choice, mainly because I can’t get two sentences into this without using the word "stark....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gasparilla Bowl moving from Tropicana Field to Raymond James Stadium

Gasparilla Bowl moving from Tropicana Field to Raymond James Stadium

The Gasparilla Bowl is heading across the bay.The annual college football bowl game is moving from Tropicana Field to Raymond James Stadium, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed. Brett McMurphy first reported the move.The game has been played for 10 con...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Twitter agrees: This plaque looks nothing like Brandi Chastain

Twitter agrees: This plaque looks nothing like Brandi Chastain

A bronze plaque meant to honor U.S. soccer great Brandi Chastain is said to look more like actor Gary Busey or Biff from Back to the Future than it does the World Cup winner and Olympic athlete.In a ceremony hosted Monday at the Westin St. Francis Ho...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Dade City honors deputy killed 15 years ago

Dade City honors deputy killed 15 years ago

DADE CITY — Fifteen years after the slaying of Pasco Sheriff’s Capt. Charles "Bo" Harrison brought shock and sadness to the community that loved him, emotions still run high as more honors come his way.Pasco County is preparing to honor Harrison’s me...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A man posed for months as an ICE agent. A traffic stop led his girlfriend to unravel the truth.

A man posed for months as an ICE agent. A traffic stop led his girlfriend to unravel the truth.

Those who knew 26-year-old Matthew Johnston never questioned whether he was actually an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.Johnston, after all, wore a uniform. His tactical vest bore "ICE" and "Federal Agent" patches, and he carried an ICE Cou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

NEW PORT RICHEY — The line snaked through the hallways and into the cafeteria, as the Ridgewood High faithful waited for their chance to secure a piece of the school’s 40-year history.They came by the hundreds — current and former students, staff and...
Updated: 1 hour ago
5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

As part of a Sacred Art Tour, eight Dalai Lama-sanctioned monks from India will be at the Florida CraftArt Galleries for a week.
Updated: 1 hour ago