FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- U.S. Army prosecutors offered the first details of a rare criminal case against a general, alleging in a military hearing Monday that he committed sex-related crimes involving four female officers and a civilian.
A hearing on evidence in the case against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair opened Monday at Fort Bragg, home to the 82nd Airborne Division. Officials said the Article 32 hearing, similar to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court, was expected to last at least two days.
The first witness called was Maj. Gen. James Huggins, former commander of the 82nd Airborne and Gen. Sinclair's direct superior during his most recent combat tour to Afghanistan.
Gen. Huggins recounted that a female captain came to his office in tears late on March 19. She reported that she had been involved in a 3-year-long sexual affair with Gen. Sinclair, then her direct commander and a married man. Adultery is a crime under the military code of justice.
Gen. Huggins said he knew the female officer to be a good soldier whom Gen. Sinclair had specifically asked to have transferred under his command.
According to Gen. Huggins, the captain said Gen. Sinclair had once forced her to perform oral sex on him, but she also had sex willingly with her boss, both at Army bases in the United States and on deployments to Germany, Iraq and the airborne division's Afghanistan headquarters.
When she had tried to end the affair, Gen. Sinclair had threatened her and persisted in pushing for sex, Gen. Huggins testified. But she also told Gen. Huggins that she finally decided to report Gen. Sinclair after finding emails exchanged with other women.
After the conversation, Gen. Huggins initiated a criminal investigation of his deputy commander, whom he described as a personal friend.
Gen. Sinclair now faces possible courts martial on charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, violating orders, engaging in inappropriate relationships, misusing a government travel charge card, and possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed.