Posted: Apr 26, 2013 1:47 AM by Nathan O'Neal
Updated: Apr 26, 2013 1:47 AM
TUCSON - The family of a woman sexually assaulted by a fighter pilot protested outside of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Thursday afternoon, demanding action after the offender began work at his new post.
Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was convicted of sexual assault last year against longtime Tucsonan Kim Hanks while she was overseas in Italy, who still has family living in the area.
Hanks' family is outraged that Wilkerson has been transferred to Davis-Monthan as Chief of Flight Safety.
"We're here today because the military justice system which was the only justice system available to her in Europe... failed her and failed her miserably," Kim's brother Stephen Hanks said.
Today, the focus centered on Tucson as Wilkerson, whose conviction was overturned by an Air Force general for not being "beyond a reasonable doubt."
"When this was overturned three months later she was obviously devastated," Shelly Hanks said.
Kim's family is appalled at the idea of living side by side with her offender.
"Our family is extremely disappointed at the prospect of having Lt. Col. Wilkerson in town and it's a small town, small community," Stephen said.
That's the driving force behind the protest as folks gathered to demand action from the base.
"There has to be change in the military. This problem with sexual assault is just getting bigger and bigger, it's not getting better," Shelly said.
Meanwhile Davis- Monthan sent News 4 Tucson this statement:
"Lt Col Wilkerson has reported in for his assignment with Headquarters Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), which is a tenant unit located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. He is one of more than 20 personnel joining Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) over the next several months and will be treated like any other Airman being assigned to our organization."
The family has collected around 3,500 signatures for a petition they plan to deliver for the Air Force demanding the removal of Wilkerson and the general who overturned his conviction.
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