Air Force faces another adultery-related sagaMay 23, 1997
Web posted at: 12:13 p.m. EDT (1613 GMT)
From Correspondent Charles Zewe
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, Louisiana (CNN) -- A female Air Force officer faces court-martial and up to 55 years in prison for charges stemming from an affair with a senior officer that produced a child.
While the Air Force contends the charges have nothing to do with adultery, Lt. Crista Davis claims otherwise.
"I'm a woman, you know. I'm one of many women who are under the gun," said Davis, an Air Force Academy classmate of 1st Lt. Kelly Flinn, who has been in the national spotlight for a separate affair.
Davis, an Air Force communications specialist, gave birth to a son, Christophe, in December after having an affair with Air Force Maj. Greg Russell, her English instructor at the Air Force Academy.
She says she became involved with Russell in 1995, two years after she graduated. But she says she broke the relationship off in 1996 when she learned Russell was married.
Adultery is considered a criminal offense in the military.
The Air Force is to hold a hearing on June 9 to decide whether to move ahead with a court-martial of Davis.
Davis was granted immunity from prosecution for adultery but faces other charges, including that she was AWOL at a time when was giving birth to Christophe and that she disobeyed an order when she failed to plan her commanding officer's Christmas party. She is also accused of using "indecent" and "cruel" language in letters written to Russell's wife.
Davis admits the letters contain graphic language but says they are not worthy of being sent to jail. She also says the charges are retaliation for her complaints about alleged racial and sexual harassment by her commander.
But the Air Force maintains the charges are warranted, that Davis repeatedly disobeyed orders and failed to complete assignments.
"These charges are based solely on her conduct as an officer," said 2nd Lt. Michael Braibish.
Russell not charged with adultery
No adultery charges were filed against Russell. Other criminal charges against him, unrelated to his relationship with Davis, were dismissed when he was found insane by an Air Force sanity board. He no longer teaches at the academy but serves on the staff pending a final decision on his status. He is no longer married.
Russell's lawyer, Allison Ruttenberg, says Davis' allegations are an attempt to get more child support from Russell.
"She wants to blow this up into a big federal case and completely miss the issue that she's being court-martialed now because of her own misconduct."
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