Friday, October 26, 2012
An Army brigadier general will face charges of sodomy and sex crimes next month in a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to be put on trial, Fort Bragg officials said Thursday.
The Article 32 hearing for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair will be Nov. 5 at the sprawling post that is home to the 82nd Airborne Division, a statement said. Sinclair was deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the division's troops in Afghanistan from July 2010 until he was sent home in May because of the allegations.
Sinclair has served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sinclair has been charged with forcible sodomy, multiple counts of adultery and having inappropriate relationships with several female subordinates. Two U.S. defense officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity last month that the allegations involved female subordinates. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide details on the case.
Sinclair also faces possible courts martial on charges that include forced sex; wrongful sexual conduct; violating an order; possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed; and misusing a government travel charge card and filing fraudulent claims.
A phone listing found for Sinclair was disconnected
Since he returned to the U.S., Sinclair has been assigned as a special assistant to the commanding general of 18th Airborne Corps. General officers under investigation are often temporarily assigned as special assistants to senior officers or commanders.
Sinclair has not been arrested or had other restrictions imposed, Fort Bragg spokesman Benjamin Abel said Thursday. The general's military defense lawyers have asked to not be identified, and the military is withholding the name of the officer who would preside over the Article 32 hearing, Abel said. The hearing officer must outrank Sinclair.
Contrary to previous practices, the Army and the Defense Department have repeatedly refused to release details of the charges against Sinclair, raising questions about whether his case is being treated differently because Sinclair is a general officer.
In contrast, the Army quickly released charge sheets laying out the criminal charges against the soldier accused in March of gunning down 17 Afghan civilians, including children in their beds, in a massacre in southern Afghanistan. The offenses in the gruesome rampage were detailed shortly after Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was charged.
Army spokesman George Wright said Thursday the Army may release details on Sinclair's charges after the hearing. The Army can refuse to release the details because they could prejudice judicial proceedings, he said. It was not immediately clear why those concerns are relevant in the Sinclair case, but not in Bales' premeditated murder case.