WICHITA — A decision likely will be made in about two weeks about whether a McConnell Air Force Base sergeant accused of having sex without disclosing his HIV-positive status should face a court-martial.
Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez did not make a comment today during his Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a grand jury proceeding.
The hearing took less than a full day and featured two women who testified they had unprotected sex with him.
Based on testimony and evidence in the case, Lt. Col. Eric Mejia, staff judge advocate at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, will make a recommendation about whether the case against Gutierrez should go to trial.
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Mejia, acting as the investigating officer, will make his recommendation to Col. Jamie Crowhurst, commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell.
Crowhurst will review the report and either dismiss the case, refer it to a special court-martial or make a recommendation to Lt. General Robert Allardice, 18th Air Force Commander at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, that he convene a general court-martial.
Two women testified earlier today that they had unprotected sex with Gutierrez on several occasions and that he told them he did not have any sexually transmitted diseases.
Maj. Lisa Richard, deputy staff judge advocate for the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell, said at the beginning of the hearing that Gutierrez's wife had declined to testify and that the military could not compel her to because she is a civilian.
Gutierrez faces 11 counts of aggravated assault as well as adultery charges. He also has been charged with violating an order by Maj. Christopher Hague, his squadron commander, to wear a condom during sex and tell partners that he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
Charges also include one count of obstructing justice and committing indecent acts on multiple occasions.
He is being defended by two military lawyers. He appeared solemn through today's hearing, conferring with his lawyers quietly at times.
Military officials had planned to place Gutierrez in custody on Aug. 9, but he was momentarily detained at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport the day before, according to testimony.
A flier with Tech Sgt. David Gutierrez's picture and information had been shared with security officials at the airport because his wife had told investigators his passport was missing from their home, Special Agent Richard Toth of the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations testified this morning.
Fearing Gutierrez knew he was being investigated and would attempt to flee Wichita, officials issued a "BOLO" — or "be on the lookout" — flier.
Security detained Gutierrez when he dropped off his two children at the airport. To not make him aware of the investigation, military officials instructed airport security and Wichita Police Department officers to tell him he had been detained by mistake.
That night, Gutierrez asked his wife, "What did you do to me?" and asked her repeatedly what she had told the military about him, Special Agent Derrell Freeman testified.
Freeman said Gutierrez's wife told him that Gutierrez tried to "defrag" — short for defragment — his computer, essentially trying to erase anything that could implicate him. That included profiles on adult websites.
Freeman testified he had instructed Gutierrez's wife to tell Gutierrez that she did not know what was going on.
Gutierrez was in military court today for an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury. The outcome of today's hearing will help determine whether Gutierrez, 43, will face a court-martial.