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Air Force appeals court overturns trainer's rape conviction, orders new sentencing

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SAN ANTONIO — A military appeals court has overturned an Air Force instructor's rape conviction and ordered a new sentence for his other convictions for misconduct at the Texas base where he worked.

The three-judge panel ruled last week that evidence presented at Staff Sgt. Eddy Soto's court-martial at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio was insufficient to support a rape conviction. However, the panel upheld Soto's guilty pleas to two counts of violating a lawful regulation, one of falsifying an official statement and two of adultery.

The panel overturned the military judge's sentence of four years of confinement, forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge. The panel ordered the lower-court judge to schedule a new sentencing hearing or dismiss the remaining charges.

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