A private who attended training at Fort Leonard Wood testified Tuesday that the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer of a military police training brigade allegedly threatened a company of trainees that they would not graduate if any more sexual assault cases were reported.

A private who attended training at Fort Leonard Wood testified Tuesday that the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer of a military police training brigade allegedly threatened a company of trainees that they would not graduate if any more sexual assault cases were reported.
The accusation surfaced during the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Angel M. Sanchez, a military police drill sergeant, who allegedly sexually assaulted three privates during Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Leonard Wood between September 2013 and January 2014.
Pvt. Alleita Gray, of the Maryland National Guard, said Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Dooley, of the 14th Military Police Brigade, told the company of trainees in January 2014 that if any other SHARP (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention) cases came forward, no one in the company would graduate.
Judge Col. Jeffery Nance, who is presiding over the court-martial, responded to the private’s testimony, saying, “Well that is remarkable but not relevant."
Fort Leonard Wood spokesperson Tiffany Wood said she is unaware of the incident with Dooley.
“While the trial is ongoing, commenting on the testimony of a witness would not be appropriate,” Wood said.
The court-martial for Sanchez, 30, a married soldier assigned to the 14th Military Police Brigade, which trains soldiers to be military police at Fort Leonard Wood, started Monday. Sanchez faces 27 specifications on three charges involving sexual assault and harassment.

‘No options’
Gray, an alleged victim’s bunkmate during AIT who testified about the victim’s demeanor during the time she was sexually assaulted, was one of at least 14 witnesses to testify Tuesday.
Another female soldier, who was a private at Fort Leonard Wood for AIT from September to January 2013 in Sanchez's company, also testified, describing several alleged incidents in which Sanchez had sexually assaulted and harassed her while she was a trainee.
Similar to other victims’ testimonies Tuesday, the victim told the court that Sanchez would isolate her from the group and have her perform various tasks alone without her “battle buddy.”
Several privates testified that it was strange for a drill sergeant to separate a private from their battle buddy. The concept of the battle buddy teaches privates how to look out for another individual.
But this private told the court that she would do what she was told when instructed by a drill sergeant, even if it seemed to be breaking rules.
She described one evening when Sanchez ordered her to clean the female barracks restroom alone. He then backed her into the wall, and forced her to have oral sex with him by forcing her to her knees and pushing her head toward him.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Ernesto Gapasin asked the private why she obeyed by opening her mouth when Sanchez's penis was forced on her face.
The private said she had no options.
“He was my superior,” she said. “I did what I was told to do.”
The private said she never told Sanchez “no” when he would sexually assault her, but she never encouraged him.
“I didn't want to have sex with him,” she said.
During other testimonies, one victim had reported the incident to a chaplain and multiple privates before going to authorities.
Another drill sergeant told the judge she had noticed a change in her demeanor during the time that the sexual assaults were allegedly taking place. The victim had told her bunkmate she was afraid to be near Sanchez.

Multiple incidents
Several other testimonies Tuesday revealed disturbing incidents that allegedly took place between Sanchez and junior soldiers.
A male private told the judge that Sanchez performed pat downs on female privates different than other drill sergeants. He said he would touch the women inappropriately before they went into the fields.
A female private, who was also in Sanchez's company for AIT, told the judge that Sanchez had ordered her to go into a room to get ice chipping tools alone, without her battle buddy. That’s when he allegedly groped her and told her to get naked, according to the private.
Impulsively, she told him to shut up.
“I had lost all respect, but I was worried,” she said. “I had no rank and you just don't talk to NCOs like that.”
Several other female soldiers told the judge that Sanchez had made inappropriate comments toward them while working, including a female drill sergeant who Sanchez allegedly groped while they were both on duty.

A change in behavior
One drill sergeant shed tears when asked how she reacted when she found out about the other privates who had been allegedly sexually assaulted and harassed by Sanchez.
“I felt responsible because I should have said something sooner to stop it,” she said. “I felt like a failure as a non-commissioned officer and as a soldier.”
The female drill sergeant said that she had worked with Sanchez for months when they were both candidates for drill sergeant and she used to feel comfortable around him. He even offered her marital advice.
“He used to talk about his family and his kids and how him and his wife had a great relationship,” she said.
She said she noticed a change in Sanchez's behavior when he became a drill sergeant.

Ongoing court-martial, rising issues
Monday, Sanchez pleaded guilty to three of the specifications involving violating lawful general regulations by wrongfully engaging in conduct of a sexual nature with three female privates. He said he was fully aware that he had disobeyed regulations by having sex with multiple privates.
Charges against Sanchez were filed in May, just days before a Pentagon study found sexual abuse cases in the military had sky-rocketed at a 50 percent increase in the previous fiscal year — with more than 5,000 reports were filed.
But the Pentagon estimates that thousands of cases of sexual assault in the military go unreported.
Testimony after testimony Tuesday described a world where drill sergeants are completely in control of their assigned soldiers.
One victim said she didn't tell anyone about being sexually assaulted because she was afraid of getting kicked out of the Army and she had no other choice but to “comply” when she was being assaulted and “hope it ended soon.”
Fort Leonard Wood's Military Police School holds a Special Victims Unit investigation training course that specializes in sexual assault cases. After U.S. Army Chief of Staff Odierno visited the class in January, he said the course was “ recognized as one of the finest courses in the country and “is critical as we continue to fight this battle against sexual assault.”
Congress has recently pressured the military to change the way sexual assault cases are handled.
The statute of limitations has been eliminated in military courts. Soldiers can no longer use their good military record as evidence for defense in a sexual assault case. Any military member convicted of a sexual assault now faces a required minimum sentence of a dishonorable discharge, according to the Associated Press.
Sanchez's court-martial is expected to continue through Wednesday.
If found guilty, Sanchez faces up to 275 years in confinement and a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army.