“It hurt and it felt really strange:” Soldier had affair with fellow soldier’s wife and abused her children for years


An Army staff sergeant was sentenced to 36 years in prison after being found guilty of raping and sexually abusing children in the United States and Germany, respectively.

Presiding military judge Lt. Col. Scott Hughes convicted 30-year-old Austin Wecker on nine counts following a weeklong court-martial at Kleber Kaserne in Germany.

Wecker’s crimes involved three young victims, including two German sisters, who testified that they suffered abuse after their families had welcomed him into their homes.

One victim, who was nine years old at the time of the abuse, shared in a pre-sentencing hearing, “I have constant anxiety. I don’t like to be left alone anymore.”

During the trial, it was revealed that Wecker lived with the German sisters and their mother in Niedermohr, a village close to US military installations. He was renting a room from the sisters’ mother, who was then married to a friend of Wecker’s, another US Soldier.

The court heard how Wecker initiated an affair with the girls’ mother and concurrently abused her daughters. The younger sister, now 10, described how Wecker exposed her to pornographic videos and raped her at the age of 7, stating through a translator during the trial, “It hurt and it felt really strange. I said, ‘stop it.’”

The older sister recounted an incident in February of 2022 when Wecker spiked her drink with alcohol and behaved inappropriately while they were alone.

She testified against the backdrop of Wecker’s unsuitable behavior, emphasizing, “Working in the Army is a job that is honored, and I think someone like this shouldn’t be honored.”

A third victim from Texas, unrelated to the German sisters, testified that Wecker sexually abused her during movie nights under a blanket.

“I don’t even watch movies anymore with anyone,” she testified.

According to the Stars and Stripes, Wecker’s defense argued that the accusations were based on false memories, possibly influenced by overheard conversations or past trauma. His civilian attorney, Joseph Jordan, questioned the credibility of the victims’ testimonies, particularly the account from the Texas victim.

The father of the Texas victim, a former Army master gunner, shared his distress upon learning of the abuse.

“It was the realization of my worst nightmare,” he said.

The veteran explained that the ordeal caused him to leave the Army, as he could no longer trust his fellow soldiers and felt compelled to protect his family.

Wecker opted for a bench trial, foregoing a jury, and was convicted on multiple charges, including three counts of child rape and four counts of child sexual abuse.

In his sentencing remarks, Wecker apologized and cited his own experiences of being sexually abused as a child.

His sentence also includes a demotion to private and the loss of all pay and benefits. Wecker, who served in the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, could have faced life without parole.

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Author

  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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