FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (Reuters) - An Army general used his superior rank to force subordinates
into improper sexual relations, military prosecutors said on Monday at a
hearing to determine if he should face a court-martial.
Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair,
a 27-year Army veteran based at Fort Bragg, is accused of 26 violations
of military law including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct,
possessing pornography while deployed and conduct unbecoming of an
The charges stem
from inappropriate behavior toward four female subordinates and a
civilian over the last five years, Army prosecutors said, revealing new
details about charges brought against Sinclair in September.
Prosecutors said the alleged sexual contacts took place in Afghanistan,
Iraq and Germany, as well as at military bases in the United States.
Sinclair was sent home in May from Afghanistan, where he had served as a
deputy commander for support, officials said.
Major General James Huggins
testified on Monday that one of the women, a captain who Sinclair had
requested be assigned to his unit in Afghanistan, tearfully reported
having a three-year affair with him..
The woman said in
March she had looked at Sinclair's emails and found exchanges with other
women, Huggins testified. She also reported that Sinclair had forcibly
sodomized her after grabbing her by the neck, and threatened her career
if she backed out of the relationship, he said.
"She wanted out," said Huggins, one of Sinclair's superiors. "She said she had tried, but Sinclair persisted."
Huggins said Sinclair admitted to showing "poor judgment" in a limited number of encounters with the woman.
accused Sinclair of threatening to kill one subordinate, or her family,
if she revealed having an affair with him.
They said he asked women to send him nude photos and berated female subordinates on several occasions.
Sinclair is accused
of claiming more than $4,000 worth of charges for personal travel as
military business, and of deleting emails during the investigation,
prosecutors said. Defense attorneys suggested the personal trips may
have included Army business.
When asked by
hearing officer Major General Perry Wiggins if he would make a statement
regarding the charges, Sinclair said "No, sir." His defense team
declined to comment.
proceeded despite an attempt by defense attorneys to have the case
dismissed or government prosecutors removed over concerns that they had
improper access to confidential emails between Sinclair, his attorneys
and his wife.
"How does he get a
fair trial if you have access to his personal communications with his
attorney?" said Sinclair's defense lawyer, Lieutenant Colonel Jackie
Leona Mansapit, a
criminal investigations special agent, testified that she reviewed
emails between Sinclair and his wife and attorney, and that military
prosecutors had seen at least one of those emails.
Mansapit said she
did not appoint an independent researcher to review Sinclair's emails as
required because she lacked the resources to do so.
postponed the proceedings while the emails were reviewed by a legal
adviser, but ultimately decided to hear evidence as planned.
recommend whether Sinclair should stand trial on any of the charges.
Dozens more witnesses are expected to give testimony at the hearing this
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Cynthia Johnston and Christopher Wilson)