Air Force Materiel Command’s former top enlisted airman pled guilty to 13 of 19 sex-related criminal counts at a Scott Air Force Base, Ill., general court martial on Monday.
Chief Master Sgt. William Gurney admitted guilt as his trial opened, according to accounts by The Associated Press and Air Force Times. Prosecutors plan to press on with five remaining allegations after the judge, Col. Thomas Cumbie, dismissed an obstruction charge.
Gurney’s guilty pleas carry a possible penalty of 14 ½ years in prison, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and reduction in rank to airman basic. The AP and Times reports said Gurney made the guilty pleas without a pretrial agreement with the prosecution.
The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations beginning in November of 2009 following Gurney’s dismissal as senior enlisted AFMC airman. AFMC is the parent agency for a number of Air Force installations including Robins Air Force Base.
According to accounts of the Monday session, Gurney told the judge he had been “derelict in misusing his position by consensually exchanging explicit pictures with female subordinates and by fondling or kissing them.” He also admitted having sex with four married women and engaging in sex with his wife while a female subordinate watched.
The AP story said Gurney explained that he was “caught in a cycle of sin” and “failed not only as an airman but as a husband.”
Gurney transferred to AFMC headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 2008 after serving as command chief for the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
His trial was moved to Scott AFB due to his position and working relationship with the AFMC commander.