An Army brigadier general has been charged with forcible sodomy, inappropriate relationships, and possessing alcohol and pornography while serving as a senior commander in Afghanistan earlier this year.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, a deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, faces a possible court martial over the charges handed down Wednesday.
In May, Sinclair was sent home to the United States in the middle of his combat tour in Afghanistan, where he was serving in the southern Afghanistan province of Kandahar as the deputy commander of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne.
Sinclair was sent to the division’s home base of Fort Bragg, N.C., so allegations of potential misconduct could be investigated. At the time of his return, base spokesmen confirmed that Sinclair was under criminal investigation.
A news release by the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office listed the charges presented against Sinclair as including “forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, attempted violation of an order, violations of regulations by wrongfully engaging in inappropriate relationships and misusing a government travel charge card, violating general orders by possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, maltreatment of subordinates, filing fraudulent claims, engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and engaging in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, or of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”
Few specifics about the allegations against Sinclair were released Wednesday, but a Defense Department official said “several women were the subject of Sinclair’s alleged misconduct.”
A U.S. official who worked with Sinclair during his deployment in Kandahar said he and other officials who knew Sinclair were shocked by the news of the charges. He described Sinclair as being “very proactive” and a “gregarious individual.”
Sinclair remains at Fort Bragg, where he has been serving in a placeholder position as a special assistant to the commanding general of the 18th Airborne Corps. A Defense Department official said Sinclair was read the charges against him on Monday. Another official added that Sinclair is not under detention at the base.
Sinclair will now face an Article 32 hearing, at which evidence will be presented to a presiding officer to determine if his case should proceed to a court martial. No date has been set for that hearing.
This past decade, Sinclair has served two tours in Iraq and was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. He had also deployed as part of Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Army spokesman George Wright says that in the past decade there have been only two Army general officers who have undergone courts martial.
In June, Brig. Gen. Roger B. Duff, a former commander of the 95th Training Division, pleaded guilty to two charges of false statements, two charges of conduct unbecoming, and seven charges of wearing unauthorized badges, awards or ribbons. Duff was sentenced to two months confinement and dismissal but, because of a pre-trial agreement, only the dismissal could be imposed. Duff’s sentence has not been finalized.
Prior to Duff’s case, the only other court martial involving an Army general officer was in 1999, when Maj. Gen. R.E. Hale pled guilty to seven counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of making a false statement about an adulterous relationship. He was reprimanded, fined $10,000, ordered to forfeit $1,000 a month in pay and retired as a brigadier general.