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Army general gets fine, no jail in assault case
Advocates of military justice reform said the case proved the armed forces still tolerate sexual misconduct in their ranks despite political pressure from Congress and the President to curb it. They said the lenient sentence for Sinclair would have a chilling effect on other victims of abuse.
The sentencing coincided with another high-profile military trial. A judge found a Naval Academy football player not guilty on Thursday in the sexual assault of a female midshipman at an alcohol-fueled off-campus party in April 2012.
“This is a serious issue,” Kirby told a news briefing. “No one’s taken their eye off of it. So we always have those concerns and we’re always trying to get better at it.”
Sinclair admitted to adultery and mistreating the captain but maintained that the affair was consensual. The case began to unravel over questions about the woman’s credibility, and the defense vowed to further undermine her at trial, but proceedings were halted earlier this month.
Prosecutors, who had asked for Sinclair to be dismissed by the Army and had said he abused his power and used it to exploit women, had no comment.
They said charging decisions in sexual assault cases should be made by independent military prosecutors rather than top commanders, a proposal voted down by the U.S. Senate earlier this month.
Sinclair’s lead attorney, civilian lawyer Richard Scheff, rebuffed the criticism.
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