Air force officer acquitted of rape at Sheppard Air Force Base

Wichita Falls_An Air Force Colonel in North Texas has been acquitted today of rape - but convicted of indecent assault.  Colonel Samuel Lofton III faces from no punishment to five years on each of the two indecent assault counts, and one year on each of two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. The rape and two indecent assault charges on which Lofton was acquitted involved one woman.

The military jury at Sheppard Air Force Base deliberated for about five hours.  Sentencing begins on Thursday.

Lofton also faces from no punishment to more than 100 years in prison and dismissal from the Air Force, which would end his 27-year military career, on other charges.

He pleaded guilty last week to 17 counts of larceny, being absent without leave nearly a dozen times, and two counts of dereliction of duty.

Lofton was removed from his post about one year ago. He did not testify this week.

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