In a deal with the U.S. Army, Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Sinclair has agreed to plead guilty to adultery and "maltreating" a junior officer, according to his legal defense team. In exchange, he will have sexual assault and sodomy charges against him dropped—meaning he can avoid having to register as a sex offender and walk away from what would likely have resulted in prison time. Two years ago, a female captain accused the general of threatening to kill her family and forcing her to perform sexual acts. The accuser, who was part of the general’s staff in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the two had been having an affair for three years. Sinclair’s sentence has not been finalized yet, but Sinclair's defense claims his plea deal has been approved by Major General Clarence Chinn, the commander at Fort Bragg, NC. The Washington Post reports: If the plea offer holds, it would represent the end of an exceptionally rare court-martial of an Army general—there have been only three such cases in the past 60 years—and an even rarer prosecution of a one-star commander on sexual-misconduct charges. Since the investigation began two years ago, the Sinclair case has riveted the Army’s rank and file, and it has also caused endless legal and public-relations headaches for the Army’s leadership. The military has been grappling with an onslaught of sexual-assault cases that have angered Congress and the White House and inflamed public opinion. Given that climate, Army leaders knew that how they handled the investigation of a general would be scrutinized closely.At a minimum, the Post estimates, Sinclair will still likely "be reduced in rank, fined and kicked out of the Army."
Ana Martinez is a Spring 2014 intern.