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NCO receives reduction in grade, hard labor for cheating on fitness test

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- On Aug. 6, a panel of Air Force officers convicted a former staff sergeant of one violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 107, making a false official statement, and sentenced her to a reduction in grade to senior airman and 14 days of hard labor without confinement. The panel found her not guilty of a violation of UCMJ Article 134, bribery.

The sentence, if approved by the convening authority, will make her a lifelong federal convict.

At the court-martial, the sergeant pled not guilty to charges of offering a bribe to a subordinate in her unit, a senior airman who was a physical training leader, in exchange for falsifying her fitness scores on May 20, 2010.

The senior airman testified that after the staff sergeant failed a fitness test, the staff sergeant offered a bribe to the PTL in exchange for a falsified passing score. The senior airman, who had been previously punished administratively, testified that she refused the bribe but changed the score to a passing score because she felt coerced by her superior. The prosecution also showed a videotaped interview of the staff sergeant by Office of Special Investigations agents in which she admitted to knowing the scores on her test were incorrect.

"The integrity of our fitness program before the establishment of the fitness assessment cell depended on the integrity of each individual military member," said Capt. Jacob Marshall, 21st Space Wing Judge Advocate Office lawyer and prosecutor in the case. "The staff sergeant admitted a failure of that individual integrity led to the failure of the fitness program, and the Air Force does not take that lightly. Her conviction and sentence are evidence of that."

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