An Army brigadier general has been charged with forcible sodomy, multiple counts of adultery and having inappropriate relationships with several female subordinates, two U.S. defense officials said today.
Jeffrey A Sinclair, who served as deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, was sent home in May because of the allegations.
Sinclair 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.
Shroud of secrecy: Brigadier General Jeffrey A Sinclair has been charged with forcible sodomy of female subordinates and was sent home from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in May
Sinclair was informed of the charges on Monday, and the next step will be an Article 32 investigation - an impartial investigation before he maybe referred to a general court martial.
The charges were announced at a brief press conference on Wednesday at Fort Bragg, the sprawling U.S. Army base in North Carolina that is home to the 82nd Airborne.
After reading a prepared statement, base spokesman Col. Kevin Arata refused to take any questions.
Reporters were told all questions would have to be made in writing and that no response was likely to come until the following day.
No date has been set for the public hearing. It was not clear if Sinclair had an attorney.
The charges are under the military legal system called the Uniform Code of Military Justices.
The term 'forcible sodomy' is defined as contact between a sex organ and any part of another person’s body.
'It's a fall back charge,' a military lawyer who asked to remain anonymous and is unfamiliar with the particulars of Sinclair’s case told Fox News.
He added that when rape would be difficult to prove lawyers often opt for the 'forcible sodomy' charge.
Sinclair had arrived in Afghanistan for his deployment in September 2011, but had been serving in the division since July 2010.
Sinclair, a trained paratrooper who has been in the Army for 27 years, was serving his third deployment to Afghanistan.
He had also served two tours in Iraq, as well as a tour in the first Gulf war. He has been decorated in battle including with the Bronze Star Medal.
Sinclair was recruited through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps in 1985 from the University of West Virginia.
He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the school along with a master’s from Central Michigan University and a master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
Deployment: Members of the military at NATO's Regional Command in Kandahar, Afghanistan where Sinclair had been posted since 2010
The 82nd Airborne Division headquarters are in charge of NATO's Regional Command South in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Details have only begun to emerge about the scandal with little information available about the time frame of the charges against Sinclair.
Fort Bragg spokesman Ben Abel confirmed it was a 'criminal investigation', according to The Fayetteville Observer.
Sinclair was reassigned to the U.S army base in May as special assistant to the commanding general of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg.
It is highly unusual for a senior member of the armed forces to be removed from their position, investigated and face a court martial. There have been only two cases in recent years.
Earlier this year, Army Brig. Gen. Roger Duff pleaded guilty to charges of conduct unbecoming an officer, wearing unauthorized awards or ribbons and making a false official statement.
He was sentenced to two months confinement and dismissal from the military. Under a pre-trial agreement, only the dismissal may be imposed. The case is still pending, said Army spokesman George Wright.
Prior to that, Maj. Gen. David Hale pleaded guilty to seven counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of making a false statement, also in connection with adultery.
He was fined $10,000 and was ordered to retire at the reduced rank of brigadier general, Wright said.
Under suspicion: Sinclair was reassigned to the position of 'special assistant' since returning to Fort Bragg several months ago
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