I came across this story from Nation Magazine yesterday about the attitude of Congressional Republicans towards sexual abuse incidents at a United States Air Force base. Given that Carlos Bustamante once served in the Air Force and appears to have left the service after only three years I had to read further than the headline.
Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, has become the center of the nation’s biggest military sex abuse case in years. Over the past several months, a widespread sexual crime epidemic that began in 2009 has been uncovered at the camp, with twelve of 475 of the base’s instructors accused of either rape, sodomy and aggravated sexual assault, among other offenses, and thirty-one female trainees identified as victims.
Now dozens of lawmakers are calling for a Congressional hearing to investigate the incidents at Lackland. But there’s no sign that one will happen anytime soon.
Last week, West Texas’s Republican Congressman Mike Conoway said he didn’t think “congressional theater” would help anything. (Good to know he takes his job seriously). Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson was a little less harsh—she first said a hearing was appropriate, then backed off a bit and told Fox News that Congress should let the military finish its investigation first.
Carlos Bustamante’s City Council biography describes his national service this way:
Carlos Bustamante enlisted in the U.S. Air Force shortly after graduation. In the Air Force, Carlos was assigned to Space Command, 2nd Space Communications Squadron in Colorado, where he helped defend the United States against nuclear missile attacks. He was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal and a Certificate of Recognition from the U.S. Secretary of Defense for his dedicated service during the “Cold War”.
Given the history of sexual abuse allegations involving the military, and the apparent willingness of officials to cover stuff up, I have to wonder if Bustamante learned he could get away with his alleged behavior well before his state and county service.
What is clear is that his supervisors in the County appear to have taken the same approach to his behavior as Congressman Mike Conway (R-Texas). Based upon the reported failures to investigate allegations of Bustamante’s inappropriate behavior, county administrators may have also felt that an investigation would not help anything.