A Fort Jackson drill sergeant was sentenced today to five years in prison and dishonorably discharged for groping or otherwise mistreating 20 women under his command at the Army's largest basic training center.

The women in 1st Sgt. Yoosuf Asad's training group nicknamed him "Dr. Asad" because of his groping. He pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault, eight counts of indecent acts and six counts of illegal association. He originally faced more than 40 charges alleging improper conduct with 28 women, but 29 charges were dismissed under the plea agreement.

Asad, in a statement read by his lawyer, apologized and asked for forgiveness. He said going to church has helped cleanse him of lust.

But defense attorney Hank Hamilton said the incidents were inevitable under the Army's policy of integrated training. "This is the price you pay for the political decision--not the military decision--to take the non-common sense approach," he said.

One of the victims said she went to Asad because of blisters on her feet and was asked to take off her pants. She refused but later was asked in front of her company to point to her nipples so she could align her medals. When she again refused, Asad ridiculed her in front of the company and put his hand inside her shirt, touching her breast, she said.

Other victims testified that Asad touched their breasts and genitals.