Col. John O. Howard. Air Force photo

The US Air Force has reached a plea deal with a former mobility wing commander charged with a slew of crimes, including sexual assault, cruelty and maltreatment.

Former 375th Air Mobility Wing commander Colonel John Howard has received non-judicial punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, accepting the punishment for conduct unbecoming of an officer and fraternization with a junior enlisted airman.

The NJP was part of a pretrial agreement reached in July, according to a USAF press release obtained by Military.com.

Howard was previously charged with two specifications of cruelty and maltreatment; two specifications of sexual assault; one specification of conduct unbecoming an officer; and one specification of fraternization.

The victim did not wish to participate in the court-martial, and sexual assault charges were dropped after the defense expressed their willingness to show evidence of related communication between Howard and the victim.

“There was no sexual assault in this case, period,” said defense attorney Richard Stevens.

Howard has been accused of misconduct of a sexual nature around the globe. While in the United Kingdom in 2016 at RAF Mildenhall, Howard allegedly rubbed his groin against a senior airman’s torso, saying,”every time I see you, there it is,” adding that his member was too big to hide.

Stationed in Maine in 2017, Howard allegedly penetrated a senior airman wihis his tongue and penetrated her mouth with his genitals. The senior airman reportedly did not consent to such actions.

It is unknown what sort of punishment Howard will face, though an NJP could result in forfeiture or reduction in pay, reprimand or restriction, additional duties and/or a reduction in rank.

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