General Accused of Sexual Assault Pleads Guilty to Lesser ChargesBy: Tina Volpe - March 16, 2014
Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair could be facing jail time for sex crimes that include sodomy, assault, and threatening behavior
General Sinclair, 51, is married with two children, and was deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Divisional and American forces in southern Afghanistan when he was recalled in 2012.
In one of the military’s most closely watched sexual assault cases, Sinclair has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for the dismissal of accusations that he twice forced his longtime mistress into oral sex, threatened to kill her and her family, and performed consensual but “open and notorious sexual acts” with her.
Sinclair agreed to charges that included adultery, requesting explicit photographs from female Army officers, possessing pornography in a combat theater and seeking a date with a lieutenant.
These guilty pleas will bring to an end an embarrassing two-year case against Sinclair, with lesser charges likely after prosecutors concluded that their chief witness, a captain who was the general’s mistress, may have lied under oath at a pretrial hearing.
Sinclair’s guilty pleas are expected to be entered Monday, and also include disobeying a commander’s order not to contact his mistress, using demeaning language to refer to female officers, and using a curse word when confronted about that conduct, and misusing his government travel charge card.
Defense lawyers say military prosecutors may call the captain, and her parents, as witnesses at a sentencing hearing this week in an effort to convince the military judge to impose a tougher punishment on General Sinclair.
The general’s punishment will not be decided until the sentencing hearing. Prosecutors are expected to argue for prison time, while defense lawyers will contend that officers in similar cases have not faced jail time and have been allowed to retire at reduced rank.
In an interview, the lead defense lawyer, Richard L. Scheff, said the plea deal would allow General Sinclair to move on with his life.
“The Army finally agreed to what were the essential terms for us, taking off the table all the charges that required General Sinclair to be a registered sex offender,” he said.
What puzzles many though, is how he was able to “agree” to anything, and why he is not being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Is he facing lesser charges because of his military standing?
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