COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Sexual assault charges filed against Jefferson Hobbs, a 2018 Niceville High School graduate and tennis star who had been studying at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, have been dismissed.
The charges were dismissed by Col. Shawn Campbell, commander of the 10th Air Base Wing — the host wing for the Air Force Academy — an academy spokesman confirmed Tuesday. The academy's preparatory school is a 10-month program that can lead to an appointment to the Air Force Academy.
Hobbs was not offered an appointment to the academy after the preparatory school program.
He received an honorable discharge from the Air Force, said his father, Greg Hobbs. Jefferson plans to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. Jefferson Hobbs will play tennis for the school, which he will attend with an Army ROTC scholarship, his father said.
The 10th Air Base Wing commander dismissed the charges against Hobbs on the recommendation of the hearing officer who presided over Hobbs' Article 32 hearing in April, according to Mead Warthen, chief of media relations in the academy's public affairs office.
Because he was a student at a school affiliated with one of the nation’s service academies, proceedings against Hobbs were conducted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. An Article 32 hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding, and involves a hearing officer making a non-binding decision as to whether probable cause for a charge exists, how the case should be charged, and whether it should be resolved in a court-martial.
Warthen declined to discuss the reasons for Campbell's decision to dismiss the charges against Hobbs, and said it was unlikely that anyone at the Air Force Academy would have any comment on the case.
Hobbs had been charged with violating the UCMJ’s Article 120, which covers rape and sexual assault. Arguments made in the April hearing by the prosecuting attorney and defense attorney in the case were forwarded to Campbell for a final decision as to whether the case would proceed.
According to a charge sheet provided by the Air Force Academy, the charges against Hobbs involved two young women, identified elsewhere as students at the academy's preparatory school. Formal charges against Hobbs, who attended Fort Walton Beach High School before transferring to Niceville High School as a junior, were filed in March by Air Force Col. Timothy Thurston, commander of the USAFA Preparatory School.
According to Hobbs' father, the investigation into his son's alleged misconduct had begun late last year. Greg Hobbs said Tuesday that in the days after the alleged incidents, the two young women had continued to exchange text messages with his son. But, Greg Hobbs said, those messages stopped just days before the women brought the alleged incidents to the attention of Air Force Academy authorities.
Chosen as the Daily News Male Player of the Year in tennis for each of his four years in high school, Hobbs was courted by a host of NCAA Division I colleges, and was ranked 192nd on the Tennis Recruiting Network’s Class of 2018 list.