A Wright-Patterson airman faced general court martial proceedings this week on an allegation of an assault on a child under the age of 16, according to base authorities.
If found guilty of the allegation, Staff Sgt. Erik M. Black, a lab technician at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, could face a maximum penalty of a reduction to the lowest enlisted rank, confinement for two years and a dishonorable discharge from the Air Force, according to base spokesman John Scaggs.
Black has entered a plea of not guilty. Lt. Col. Lynn Watkins, a presiding military judge, will determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
In testimony Wednesday in a base courtroom, Dayton Children’s Hospital Dr. Vipul Garg submitted photographs taken in April 2013 that he said showed the now 6-year-old boy had extensive bruises on his head, neck, arm, legs, back and genitals when the doctor examined him.
The mother of the alleged victim testified she had returned from a shopping trip when the defendant, who was babysitting the child, told her he accidentally hit the boy during play time with the child. She later left the residence with a friend for the evening and when she returned was told the boy had tripped and landed on his face, she testified.
Under cross-examination, the mother said she had never seen the staff sergeant strike the boy in any interaction with him.
The day after the boy was bruised, she said he did not avoid Black. “He was all over him,” she testified. “He wasn’t shying away from him.” She also testified the child engages in rambunctious playing.
A prosecutor in the case objected in court to the defense trying to characterize the alleged victim as “an aggressive child.”
The mother said she did not see the extent of the boy’s injuries until he was examined at Dayton Children’s Hospital, where his injuries were documented. She also testified she was not responsible for the injuries.
The child now lives in Florida with his father, she said.
The court martial proceedings were set to continue Thursday.