Controversy erupts over army general’s plea deal after sex assault charge

Mar 21, 2014

Army General To Enter Into Plea Deal In Military Sexual Assault Case

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair leaves the Fort Bragg Courthouse after sexual assault charges against him were dropped after he plead to lesser charges March 17, 2014 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Sinclair, a former deputy commander with the 82nd Airborne Division, has admitted to an extramarital affair with a junior officer. “Unlawful command influence” caused a delay in the trial last week.; Credit: Davis Turner/Getty Images

The plea deal and sentencing in the court-martial sex-assault case against General Jeffrey Sinclair has some critics crying foul, calling the reprimand a slap on the wrist, even as supporters praise the decision as a sign that the military justice system is still working.

Sinclair, who pled guilty to charges of adultery after being accused of sexual assault and extortion, will serve no jail time. The General will resign from his post, pay a fine, and continue to receive his military pension.

Another sexual assault case fell apart on the same day as Sinclair’s sentencing — Midshipman Joshua Tate was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a Naval Academy classmate. The victim had alleged Tate and two other Naval Academy students sexually assaulted her while she was intoxicated.

Both the Naval Academy case and the case against General Sinclair have fueled debate about how the military handles sexual assault investigations and prosecutions. How does the military chain of command affect sexual assault cases? What’s the best way to handle military sex crimes?


Greg Jacob, former marine and policy director at the Service Women’s Action Network- an advocacy group focused on eliminating harassment and assault within the military

John A. Convery, Attorney and partner in the San Antonio firm Hasdorff & Convery, P.C.; Convery has defended military personnel as a civilian counsel throughout Europe

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