Wednesday, January 23, 2013

US Commander Jeffrey Sinclair Defers Plea at Court-Martial

TEHRAN (FNA)- US Army Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Sinclair, a veteran of five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, deferred entering a plea to criminal charges including sexual misconduct at his court-martial, reports said.

In a rare case of an active-duty general charged with criminal offenses, Sinclair decided not to enter a plea at his arraignment hearing, Los Angeles Times reported.

The general is accused of 25 specific violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice between October 2007 and March 2012. Among the charges are sexual misconduct and violating orders. If convicted of the most serious charges, Sinclair faces life in prison.

Sinclair was the 82nd Airborne Division's deputy commander for logistics and support in Afghanistan before he was relieved of duty and sent back to division headquarters at Ft. Bragg.

Though only two other generals have faced courts-martial in recent years, allegations of sexual misconduct against high-ranking commanders have become more common.

According to military statistics compiled by the Associated Press, 30% of commanders fired since 2005 lost their jobs because of sex-related offenses. Of the 18 generals and admirals fired during that period, 10 were removed because of sex-related offenses, the AP found. 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. Twenty-seven others were fired for alcohol- or drug-related violations.

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