Cannon captain sentenced to one year

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers

Editor’s note: This report contains language that some readers may find offensive.

A Cannon Air Force Base captain has been sentenced to one year of military confinement and will be dismissed from the Air Force after he was found guilty of molesting an 8-year-old boy, according to base officials.

Capt. Robert Bitner, 30, was convicted of engaging in an indecent act with a male under age 16 by court martial Feb. 10, a Monday press release from Cannon said.
Bitner was serving at Cannon as a physician’s assistant with the 27th Medical Operations Squadron.

He was arrested by investigators with the Curry County Sheriff’s Department in June and charged with four counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, according to court records.

According to an arrest affidavit, the victim told his mother Bitner had fondled his genitals on several occasions when he spent the night with Bitner’s stepchildren.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said he granted a request by the military for jurisdiction in the case. Based on the findings of Air Force investigators, the federal government proceeded with the court martial.

The state’s case was kept open pending conclusion of the military trial, Chandler said previously.

He said his office will dismiss its case against Bitner in the interest of saving the victim and his family the trauma of a second trial.

“At this point it is in the best interest of justice to dismiss the state’s case. The victim’s family is very satisfied with the outcome of the federal case and they’re ready to move forward and put this behind them,” he said.

If found guilty in civilian court, Bitner faced a maximum sentence of nine years in prison, Chandler said.