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Sergeant Guilty of Sexual Misconduct

May 30, 1997| From Associated Press

ABERDEEN, Md. — An Army drill sergeant was convicted Thursday of having sex with five female trainees and interfering with the investigation against him.

Staff Sgt. Vernell Robinson is the third Aberdeen staff member convicted of sexual misconduct since the Army revealed in November that allegations of sexual harassment at the base had led to similar investigations worldwide.

Robinson faces a maximum prison sentence of up to 60 1/2 years.

As the verdict was read, he stood at attention with his head bowed.

Robinson, 32, was accused of taking part in a sex ring that preyed on female trainees.

Staff Sgt. Wayne Gamble testified that he had warned Robinson that he was being careless in pursuing relationships that could get him in trouble, but Robinson ignored him.

"He said, 'The game is good and I'm a gangster,' " Gamble said. "I took it to mean he felt untouchable."

Gamble, one of six men who allegedly seduced and shared trainees, testified under a grant of immunity. Gamble said he, Robinson and the four other sergeants selected young women as potential sexual partners as they arrived from basic training for three months of advanced individual training.

"You'd get a feel for them; you get a knack," he said.

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