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Newsmonger: AF recruiter charged with rape, Chan targets Nexolon deal

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AF recruiter charged with rape

Air Force officials this week announced a litany of charges against a Houston-area recruiter, saying he raped and sodomized potential recruits, among other crimes.

AF officials say Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodríguez sought "intimate relationships" with numerous female applicants and recruiter's assistants between August 2008 and November 2011 while assigned to a Lake Jackson recruiting office, violating military no-contact orders. An Air Force charge sheet provided to the Current outlines a number of searing allegations against Rodríguez, assigned to the 341st Recruiting Squadron in San Antonio, including that he forcibly sodomized two female applicants, raped two others, and sent photos of his penis to numerous other women. Also included in the charges: that Rodríguez allegedly asked an AF sergeant to lie about the misconduct to investigators, and that he used "his grade or position, threats, pressure, or promise of return of favors or favorable treatment in attempt to gain sexual favors" from one female applicant.

AF officials have been investigating the case since November 2011, when the mother of one female applicant caught her daughter exchanging inappropriate texts with Rodríguez, said Air Force Recruiting Service spokeswoman Christa D'Andrea. Rodríguez was set for an Article 32 evidentiary hearing in San Antonio this week.

"We have heard many stories of abuses by recruiters preying on young, impressionable civilians who are vulnerable to the influence of what they see as somebody in a position of authority who might be able to help them," said Nancy Parrish, founder of the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, in a prepared statement this week. "This is another example of abuse of that authority — one more example of why we need reform."

Many of the charges against Rodríguez echo the growing abuse scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, where so far 30 trainers have been investigated for misconduct with 56 women. Staff Sgt. Christopher Jackson last week was convicted of having sexual relationships with two trainees and obstruction of justice after he asked one of the women to lie to investigators — Jackson, unlike others charged in the scandal, was not charged with rape or assault. Jackson was sentenced to 100 days in the brig, 30 days of hard labor, and busted down a rank.

Chan targets Nexolon deal

D9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan is still bristling over a hefty incentives package Council passed last month that paves the way for Nexolon America LLC to build on a large swath of Brooks City Base.

Nexolon is the key manufacturing partner for OCI Solar America, which secured CPS' Energy's contract to buy 400 megawatts of solar power last year. In return, Nexolon plans to build its headquarters and plant to manufacture solar panels and components on 86 acres of Brooks City Base, an estimated $115 investment that's slated to provide 404 jobs that pay, at minimum, a living wage ($11.08 an hour).

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