A two-year court case involving allegations of sexual abuse in the highest levels of the military came to an end today as Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was sentenced.
According to a New York Times report, Sinclair has been ordered by a military judge to forego $5,000 of his pay per month for four months. The general was not discharged from the military and will be allowed to keep his pension and benefits. The general’s chief defense lawyer has stated that Sinclair will be retiring with haste.
The sentence was far more lenient than many following the case had expected. Sinclair had faced up to life in prison if convicted of several of the more serious charges he was facing.
Sinclair was originally charged with eight charges related to sexual assault, including forcible sodomy, indecent acts, and conduct unbecoming an officer. The general pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Sinclair was accused of forcing a female captain to perform oral sex on him and issuing death threats against the woman and her family. The general has since admitted that the woman was his mistress while he was stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The case was further complicated when the case’s former lead prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel William Helixon, asked that the more serious charges against Sinclair be dropped. The colonel reportedly argued while in tears that he believed Sinclair’s accuser had lied about evidence found on her phone and had lied under oath.
Earlier this week Sinclair agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges of misconduct through a plea deal with the prosecution. The deal led to the dismissal of the sex abuse charges, though adultery (a crime in the military) was still included.
Shortly before the sentencing Sinclair had offered an apology for his conduct and to his accuser. The general called his actions “selfish” and “self-destructive” while stating that he felt “shame and remorse.”
Image via U.S. Military