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1st Air Force instructor convicted in sweeping military sex scandal dies in prison

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SAN ANTONIO — The first Air Force instructor convicted of rape and sexual assault in a massive sex scandal at one of the nation's busiest military training centers has died while in prison, officials said Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, a former instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, was found unresponsive Friday at the federal military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kanas. Denise Haeussler, a spokeswoman for the fort, said Walker was taken to a hospital, where he died Sunday night.

Haeussler said the cause of death was still being investigated and that no further details would be available until Army criminal investigators have completed their work in the case. It was unclear how long that would take.

Calls to Lackland's public affairs office were not immediately returned Tuesday evening.

Walker had been serving a 20-year prison sentence. In July 2012, a military court found Walker, then a married father with two sons, guilty of 28 counts of rape, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual contact.

Lackland is where all Air Force recruits go through basic training, and Walker's was the first case tried following a massive sex scandal in which dozens of instructors were accused of preying on female recruits.

At trial, prosecutors said Walker used his position as trainer to gain female recruits' trust before making illicit sexual advances. Walker's court-martial included testimony from 10 women, one of whom wept as she described him luring her into his base office and sexually assaulting her on a bed, ignoring her pleas to stop.

A month after Walker was convicted and sentenced, the military ousted Col. Glenn Palmer, the top commander over the basic training unit where the sexual assaults and harassment happened.

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