An Air Force Academy major will stand trial next week on sexual assault charges.
Maj. Travis Burns is set for court-martial Monday at the school where he’s assigned to the commandant’s office, which oversees military training for cadets.
At a hearing in May, a lawyer for Burns said the charges stem from “an extremely vicious custody battle” and are without merit.
Burns, a pilot who previously was assigned to the service’s secretive special operations command, is charged with five counts alleging sexual acts involving a woman and a girl.
The charges, issued in April, allege acts dating back as far as 2013 and as recent as April 2018, court papers show.
The Gazette does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.
During the May hearing, military prosecutors contended the victims gave consistent accounts of Burns’ acts and other evidence linked him to the alleged crimes.
Benjamin Beliles, Burns’ attorney, said police in Colorado Springs had investigated the alleged sexual assault upon a child and declined to seek charges.
The evidence against Burns will be introduced during a weeklong trial, the academy said.
“It must be emphasized that charges are merely accusations, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” the school said in a news release.
Most court-martials include a military jury, which can convict by a two-thirds vote. Defendants also can opt to be tried solely by a judge.
Rape convictions in the military can carry a life term, but military juries have wide discretion at sentencing and no mandatory minimum penalties.