A former military training instructor who pleaded guilty to having unprofessional relationships with three technical training students and obstructing justice was sentenced July 1 to four months in jail and 45 days of hard labor.
Ex-Tech. Sgt. Brian Hickingbottom Jr. became the 24th MTI convicted in just more than a year in a scandal that ushered in sweeping changes to the Air Force’s basic training program at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, including more female trainers and greater trainer oversight.
Military judge Col. Donald Eller also busted him two ranks, to senior airman.
The former technical sergeant attempted to develop personal, intimate and sexual relationships with three women while they were in technical training between April 2011 and August 2012, according to the charge sheet. He was also accused of telling two airmen he was under investigation and to say nothing if questioned by investigators. Hickingbottom pleaded guilty to one of those charges and was acquitted of the other.
Three days earlier, on June 28, Eller sentenced Senior Airman Andrew S. Lira to six months confinement, 30 days hard labor, reduction to E-1 and forfeiture of $1,200. Lira had pleaded guilty to having sex with a basic trainee and attempting to have sexual or inappropriate relationships with seven technical trainees.
The Air Force has said it has investigated 33 instructors on allegations ranging from rape to inappropriate contact on social media. Of the 24 who have been court-martialed, all but one have been men.