The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

March 18, 2014

2nd day of sentencing in US Army general sex case

(Continued)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. —

Sinclair, 51, had been accused of twice forcing the female captain under his command to perform oral sex during the three-year extramarital affair. A lawyer who advised the accuser issued a statement Monday saying she stood by the assault accusation.

The married general pleaded guilty earlier this month to having improper relationships with three subordinate officers, including the captain. He also pleaded guilty to adultery, which is a crime in the military.

The most serious accusations went to trial, but the court-martial was halted after the military judge found evidence that there may have been improper influence in a decision to reject a previous plea deal. The new deal was then struck, including Sinclair's admission that his treatment of the captain was "unwarranted, unjustified and unnecessary," broke military law and mentally harmed her.

Sinclair also admitted Monday to abusing a government credit card he used while traveling to visit his mistress, using indecent language to demean female officers and contacting the accuser after being told not to.

Sinclair spoke in court Monday, showing emotion for the first time after being stoic during previous hearings.

"I failed her as a leader and as a mentor and caused harm to her emotional state," Sinclair said, his voice catching as he read from a statement. He asked the judge for a break and took a long drink of water before continuing to read.

"I created a situation over time that caused her emotional harm," Sinclair said, seated in his dress blue uniform.

Ultimately, the judge will give Sinclair a sentence that can't exceed terms in the agreement struck between defense lawyers and military attorneys over the weekend, but has not been made public. The legal agreement is likely to require a punishment far less severe than the maximum penalties of 21 ½ years in prison and dismissal from the Army.

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