Air Force Officer Gets 9 Years for Assault, Other Crimes

AP, June 26, 2008

An Air Force colonel was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday and will be kicked out of the military for assaulting a woman, misusing his government travel card and other crimes at Sheppard Air Force Base.

Col. Samuel Lofton III faced 140 years in prison after being convicted of 34 counts, including indecent assault, larceny, being absent without leave and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

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Lofton was convicted Wednesday of assaulting one woman but acquitted of rape and two other assault charges involving another. He was convicted of bad conduct charges involving a third woman.

He also racked up $26,000 in personal expenses on his government travel card and was reimbursed $14,000 for trips he never took. He pleaded guilty to those charges last week.

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Lofton, the former 82nd Training Group commander at the base from 2004 until he was removed last year amid an investigation into his financial wrongdoing, did not testify at his trial or sentencing.

Defense attorneys called no witnesses Thursday but showed pictures from throughout Lofton’s life and career. They argued that Lofton already will suffer consequences because of his court-martial convictions—especially the indecent assault, which will require him to register as a sex offender in most states.

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Two-thirds of jurors had to agree on the sentence. A term of more than 10 years would have required three-fourths approval.

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airforce

Col. Samuel Lofton III.

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