Wednesday Jan 23, 201305:18 PM GMT
Top US commander faces life-term for multiple sexual offenses
US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair
US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair
Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:43AM
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A US Army brigadier general who has led American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan over past years has refused to enter a plea to multiple criminal charges that include sexual misconduct at his court-martial.

The active-duty US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair deferred entering a plea to 25 violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice from October 2007 and March 2012 at his court-martial on Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reports on Wednesday.

The criminal offenses brought against the senior US general include forcible sodomy, sexual misconduct and violating orders and if convicted of the most serious charges, he faces a sentence of life-imprisonment.

According to prosecutors in the case, Sinclair, who is married, has “forced a female captain to engage in sex and threatened to kill the officer and her family if she told anyone.”

At an evidence hearing at US Army base Ft. Bragg in November, the report says, the female captain, who is also married, testified that General Sinclair used degrading language to describe other women. When she challenged him, "he said he was a general and he could say whatever the [expletive] he wanted," she testified.

The Army general, who was removed from his command in Afghanistan last May, is further accused of “conducting improper sexual relationships with subordinate female officers and a civilian,” the report states.

Additionally, he has allegedly committed sexual offenses with various women “in his office in Afghanistan with the door open, on a plane, in a parking lot and on a hotel balcony.”

According to prosecutors, the acts took place in Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany as well as on bases within the United States.

Although only two other generals have faced courts-martial in recent years, says the report, charges of sexual misconduct against senior military commanders have become more frequent.

The report further cites military statistics compiled by the Associated Press to reveal that 30% of US commanders fired since 2005 lost their jobs due to sex-related offenses.

“Of the 18 generals and admirals fired during that period, 10 were removed because of sex-related offenses... In all, 78 of the 255 commanders at the rank of lieutenant colonel and above who were fired were removed because of sex-related offenses,” according to the AP report.

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