Battleland

General Misconduct

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Better Days: Then-Colonel Jeffrey Sinclair judges an arm-wrestling contest during the gladiatorial games as part of the New Year's Eve celebration at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, on Dec. 31, 2008. In keeping with military tradition, the referee is identified, but the gladiators are not.

The Army is charging a general who served five tours in Afghanistan and Iraq with sexual assault, adultery, and inappropriate relationships with female subordinates.

So much for the military’s recently-boosted efforts to curb sexual assaults.

Until May, Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair was serving as deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, one of the service’s most storied units. He was ordered home after the allegations surfaced.

XVIII Airborne Corps spokesman Colonel Kevin Arata read off the lengthy list of charges against Sinclair late Wednesday at Fort Bragg:

 …forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, attempted violation of an order, violations of regulations by wrongfully engaging in inappropriate relationships, and misusing a government travel charge card, violating general orders by possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, maltreatment of subordinates, filing fraudulent claims, engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and engaging in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

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Sinclair is a highly-decorated paratrooper with 27 years in uniform. He has pulled three tours in Afghanistan and a pair in Iraq. He faces an Article 32 hearing under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which will decide whether or not he will face a court martial.

Army officials said that few officers of such high rank face court martial. Army Brigadier General Roger Duff pleaded guilty in June to two charges of false official statements and charges of wearing unauthorized decorations.

In another case cited by Army officials, in March 1999 Army Major General David Hale pleaded guilty to charges of conduct unbecoming an officer, and a false statement concerning an adulterous relationship. He was reprimanded, fined, and demoted. Battleland remembers it well.

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