General's Sex Assault Charge to Be Dropped in Plea Deal

Image: General's Sex Assault Charge to Be Dropped in Plea Deal

Sunday, 16 Mar 2014 04:19 PM

By Greg Richter

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An Army general accused of sexual assault against a captain under his command will plead guilty to lesser charges, defense lawyers said Sunday.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair agreed to a deal that would drop the more serious charges, including that the married 51-year-old Sinclair forced the 34-year-old female captain to perform oral sex on him against her will, threatened to kill her and her family, and performed consensual but "open and notorious sexual acts" with her in a car in Germany and on a hotel balcony in Tucson, Arizona, The New York Times reports.

Sinclair's lawyers confirmed the deal in a news release, indicating the deal would ensure he would not have to register as a sex offender.

The news release says the agreement has been approved and signed by a high-ranking general overseeing the case.

The pleas are expected to be entered in court at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Monday. But prosecutors are still expected to call the woman and her parents to testify in an effort to gain harsher punishment.

Should that happen, defense attorneys say they will cross-examine her over inconsistent stories she has given about her relationship with Sinclair. The two carried on a three-year affair.

The plea deal would require Sinclair to retire as a lieutenant colonel, two ranks below brigadier general and the last rank at which no illegal acts are alleged against him, the Times reports. The demotion would cost him about $1 million in retirement pay.

Sinclair is the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and had been seen as a rising star before the allegations became public.

Defense attorney Richard Scheff says in the news release that Sinclair is admitting to his mistakes and that it's time to put the matter to rest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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