Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who was accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate and pleaded guilty in March to having improper relationships with two other Army women, will retire honorably in the next few weeks at the reduced rank of lieutenant colonel, according to an Army spokesman.
Sinclair remains eligible for full retirement benefits, though they'll be lower than the $832,000 he would have received had he retired as a general.
Army Secretary John McHugh said today that the decision to demote Sinclair was "legally sustainable," and that federal law prevents a harsher punishment. When Sinclair was convicted in March, he was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for abusing a government credit card while having improper relationships.
The complex sexual assault case against Sinclair was ultimately undermined in March when his primary accuser failed to turn over cell phone evidence to the government. The lead prosecutor later dropped out, and Sinclair was able to strike a deal by pleading guilty to having an adulterous affair with the primary accuser and improper relationships with two other subordinates. His primary accuser maintains that Sinclair sexually assaulted her twice while the two were deployed in Afghanistan, and that he threatened to kill her when she tried to end their relationship. All of this played out while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tried (and failed) to get Congress to take military sexual assault cases outside the chain of command.
Today is the first time in ten years that the Army has demoted a general by two ranks.
[Image via AP]