Officer alleged to have made indecent acts on 10-year-old
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — A 48th Fighter Wing officer allegedly committed indecent acts on the 10-year-old daughter of an airman on her birthday following a night of heavy drinking, unrequited sexual advances and the physical abuse of subordinates.
Maj. Brandon S. Smith also allegedly physically assaulted three fellow 48th Medical Group members and made the unsolicited sexual advances toward two female airmen. Then he performed the indecent act on the girl in her bedroom, according to testimony Wednesday at an Article 32 hearing.
An Article 32 hearing is held to determine if sufficient evidence exists to refer charges for a court-martial.
Smith, who did not testify at the hearing, is alleged to have acted in a manner unbecoming an officer on the night of July 14 when he attended the going-away party of three fellow 48th Medical Group members.
The 10-year-old victim, who will not be identified according to Stars and Stripes’ policy, testified for less than a half-hour about how Smith entered her room after midnight, removed her underwear and licked her buttocks.
She spoke in a subdued tone, often holding her hands to her mouth, and paused several times to wipe tears from her eyes.
Air Force defense attorney Capt. Lauren Torcynski drew a sharp rebuke from investigating officer Lt. Col. Saritha Anjivel during cross-examination of the young victim for extended inquiry about the child’s current boyfriend in the United States.
Five Air Force personnel who attended the party and were victims of Smith’s alleged behavior as well as an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent testified during the all-day hearing Wednesday.
Tech. Sgt. Sonyia Lilly, who hosted the going-away party, testified that Smith made several unwanted advances toward her at her home before she demanded that other airmen remove him from her property. Her husband was serving in Afghanistan at the time of the party.
Senior Airman Amanda Whitfield testified that Smith had repeatedly made unsolicited advances toward her at Lilly’s home, rubbing her back and buttocks as well as trying to sit on her lap. She also said that Smith was making her uncomfortable throughout the night by following her to the restroom.
Three other enlisted airmen testified that Smith used physical force against them on the night in question. He allegedly struck one on the head, pushed another in the chest and hugged a third with such force as to restrict breathing.
The hearing concluded Wednesday and a decision on whether Smith will face a court-martial is expected after the new year.