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Army General Faces Fine After Sexual Assault Case

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was fined $24,000 but avoided jail time after accepting a plea deal in his court martial for sexual assault.
Posted at 7:08 PM, Mar 20, 2014

A U.S. Army general faces a $24,000 fine but no jail time after accepting a plea deal in one of the most high-profile sexual assault cases the military has ever seen.

In 2012, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was accused of sexual assault by a female captain with whom Sinclair was having an affair. Sinclair could have faced life in prison on the original charges. (Via WNCN)

But as The New York Times writes, the prosecution's case began to fall apart after the defense accused the captain of perjury. Last week the judge dismissed the jury after he concluded the charges against Sinclair had been politically influenced.

As part of his plea deal, Sinclair will be docked $5,000 from his pay for four months and must pay $4,100 in restitution. 

Sinclair expressed his relief to reporters after the trial. 

 

SINCLAIR: "The system worked. I've always been proud of my Army. All I want to do now is go up north, hug my kids and see my wife." (Via WRAL)

Sinclair's lawyers were likely relieved as well — the Los Angeles Times notes the general's original plea deal included 18 months of prison time. 

The defense was reportedly "so concerned that Sinclair would get jail time that they brought a black overcoat to shield handcuffs if he had been taken into custody."

But proponents of military sexual assault reform are less than thrilled with the verdict. California Rep. Jackie Speier called Thursday's sentence "a mockery of military justice, a slap on the wrist nowhere close to being proportional to Sinclair's offenses."

WTVD reporter points out Sinclair could potentially face a more severe penalty when his case is looked over by the Army Review Boards Agency.

"A board will retire him at a reduced rank, which will most likely be lieutenant colonel, and he would stand to lose just over $800,000 in retirement and pensions."

Sinclair is the highest-ranking officer ever to be prosecuted for sexual assault, and only the third Army general to face court-martial in the past 60 years.