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WPAFB former top enlisted man Gurney to be court-martialed

By John Nolan, Staff Writer

The Air Force Materiel Command’s former top enlisted man at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will be tried in a military court in December on charges he had sex with Air Force women, used his influence to try to have women assigned to his area, and mistreated subordinates.

Chief Master Sgt. William C. Gurney’s general court martial is to begin Dec. 6 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., which has been given authority over the matter. A week has been set aside for the proceeding before a military judge and a panel of at least five members, Scott spokeswoman Karen Petitt said Thursday, Aug. 5.

If convicted, Gurney could be sentenced to military prison and be given a dishonorable discharge, and he could see his rank and pay reduced. The nearly 27-year Air Force veteran also could be acquitted.

“The Air Force takes all allegations of misconduct seriously, and holds its people to the highest standards,” Scott Air Force Base said in a statement Thursday. “It presumes the innocence of the accused until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Gurney is accused of 19 specifications of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice by having unprofessional relationships with 10 enlisted women. The allegations include misuse of government equipment and his official position, wrongful sexual contact, indecent conduct, dereliction of duty, obstruction of justice, maltreatment of subordinates and adultery.

Gurney could be sentenced to as much as 20 years behind bars if convicted of all the charges, the Air Force said.

Under military law, adultery is an offense because it is regarded as detrimental to the order and discipline of the armed forces and could bring discredit to the services.

The obstruction of justice charge alleges that Gurney tried to influence the testimony or actions of a master sergeant, the Air Force said.

Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice, commander of the 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base, made the decision to convene the general court martial, a forum that could lead to the most severe possible punishment. Allardice received a report and recommendations from the investigating officer, Col. Michael O’Sullivan, a military judge who heard three days of testimony in May at Wright-Patterson.

During that hearing, Air Force women testified that they had sex with Gurney. Some said the sex was consensual, but at least one testified that it was against her will. Two testified that they had sex with Gurney in his Wright-Patterson office.

The women said they had repeated exchanges of sexually explicit communications and nude or seminude photographs with Gurney, either through e-mail or text messages.

One airman went to Air Force investigators to complain. The investigators arranged to be with her while she sent text messages to Gurney. He responded by sending back a nude photo of himself and another in which he was lying on a bed with his pants pulled partially down, according to testimony.

Gurney’s wife, Tracie, sometimes participated in three-way sex with Gurney and an Air Force woman, according to testimony. Mrs. Gurney is not in the Air Force.
Gurney did not respond to an e-mail to his office or a call to his home Thursday, requesting comment. His Air Force lawyer at Wright-Patterson, Maj. Kristin McCall, declined through an aide to comment.

Gurney was removed on Nov. 13 from his position as the AFMC’s command chief master sergeant while the Air Force Office of Special Investigations examined the allegations against him. In that job, Gurney served as the AFMC’s chief enlisted person who advised the commander, Gen. Donald Hoffman, on matters involving the enlisted forces.

Hoffman asked Air Force headquarters to choose another Air Force authority to handle the Gurney matter. Headquarters chose Scott Air Force Base.

Gurney has been replaced in his former job. He has been given administrative duties in AFMC headquarters at Wright-Patterson.

Air Force women who admitted to having sex with Gurney could face discipline from their commanders, the Air Force has said.

View the original article at Veterans Today

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