Airman gets seven months for sex crime
RAMSTEIN, Germany — Senior Airman Gabriel Lopez was sentenced Wednesday to seven months’ confinement and a bad-conduct discharge after he was convicted of a sex crime against another man.
Lopez, who has served for almost five years in the Air Force, was convicted of wrongful sexual conduct that involved having oral sex with another man in a December 2007 incident. Military Judge Lt. Col. Jennifer Klein also demoted Lopez to the rank of E-2 and ordered that he forfeit pay of $1,500 a month for seven months. The maximum sentence would have included up to one year’s confinement and a dishonorable discharge.
Lopez pleaded guilty to improperly touching the victim, but as part of a new law that allows defendants to modify their plea, the defense refuted that he had oral sex with the victim.
Prosecutors put the victim on the stand and presented DNA evidence during the court-martial.
Armed Forces DNA Laboratory forensic biologist Robert Fisher, who tested evidence in the case, told the court that Lopez’s DNA was found on the victim’s body as well as on some of his clothes. When prosecuting attorney Air Force Capt. James Gentry asked Fisher if that DNA could have been transferred by Lopez briefly touching the victim, Fisher responded, "it’s possible, but not likely. The major DNA profile matched Lopez."
"The DNA evidence was overwhelming," said Lopez’s attorney, Greg McCormack, a private attorney based in Virginia Beach, Va. "The testimony of the complainant was pretty compelling."
McCormack said the incident involved alcohol.