Army general charged with sex abuse

Nov. 5, 2012 at 10:24 PM
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FORT BRAGG, N.C., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. Army prosecutors unveiled a laundry list of charges Monday against a one-star general they say sexually abused women who worked under him.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Allen Sinclair, 50, was accused of brazen harassment of four women since 2008, including forcing them to send sexually explicit photos of themselves to him and in one case using his Army rank to compel a sexual relationship be continued, prosecutors said.

U.S. Maj. Gen. James Huggins testified a female aide of Sinclair, a married man with two children, came to his office March 19 and confessed to a three-year sexual relationship, saying she believed Sinclair would leave his wife for her, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported.

Huggins said the woman, a captain, said she told Sinclair she wanted to end the relationship and that he grabbed her by the neck and sodomized her.

Huggins said the captain also could face charges, saying she also has to "face the music."

Sinclair's defense lawyers at Fort Bragg, N.C., argued the charges should be dropped at an Article 32 hearing, roughly equivalent to a grand jury hearing in civilian court, because the government illegally searched Sinclair's Army email account. About 16,000 emails cited by prosecutors are confidential under attorney-client privilege, Sinclair's lawyers argued.

The Article 32 hearing officer called a recess to research Sinclair's lawyers' claims, but prosecutors argued they avoided information that was confidential and did not learn of any defense strategy, and Wiggins continued the hearing, the Observer reported.

In addition to the sexual misconduct, Sinclair is accused of billing the government for two vacations he falsely said were official business.

He is charged with wrongful sexual conduct, attempted violation of an order, wrongfully engaging in inappropriate relationships, misuse of a government travel charge card, possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, maltreatment of subordinates and fraud.

If convicted, he could face up to life in prison, though military court experts said such a sentence is unlikely. There is not a sentencing minimum, meaning Sinclair could be convicted but not punished.

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