Three airmen arrested for “gang raping” female airman at a house party

Thomas Newton (left), Isaiah Edley (center) and Rahman Buchanan each faces a charge of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree. (Curry County Detention Center)

Three airmen assigned to Cannon Air Force Base were arrested over the weekend for raping a woman assigned to their base.

Senior Airman Thomas Newton, 24, Airman First Class (A1C) Isaiah Edley, 19, and A1C Rahman Buchanan, 18, were charged last weekend with second-degree felony criminal sexual penetration.

The alleged incident occurred early Saturday at a house party in Clovis, NM. The female victim told Clovis Police Department officers the three men sexually assaulted her one at a time while two held her arms.

The victim told police she had only known Senior Airman Newton for a week prior to the incident. According to a criminal complaint, she showed police Newton’s Snapchat videos from the evening of the assault to identify the other suspects.

The men face up to nine years in custody, lifetime parole, $10,000 in fines and lifetime sex offender registration, Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover told Eastern New Mexico News.

According to Air Force officials, A1C Edley and A1C Buchanan arrived at the base last year in November but Senior Airman Newton has been at the base since May 2015.

“We are doing everything we can to assist local law enforcement to ensure a thorough and complete investigation,” an official said in an email on Wednesday.  “Buchanan, Edley and Newton are currently part of a civil criminal case in Curry County so we can’t presently speculate on any actions, judicial or otherwise, that may be taken on behalf of Cannon AFB.”

“We place a great deal of faith in our local authorities and the legal system and are cooperating with them in every way possible. That said, we have to allow due process to run its course. We are offering the victim, who is assigned to Cannon, every resource available at our hands for support.”

As of Wednesday, the three men remained held without bond in the Curry County Adult Detention Center pending court appearances next week.

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