New Sheaf of Military Sexual Misconduct Cases Revealed

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 05:20 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A "large majority" of previously undisclosed misconduct by top military brass since October 2012 involves Army and Air Force generals, including one commander who blasted out emails after meeting with Republican North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers, describing her as "smoking hot" and referring to explicit sexual acts, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The newspaper said it received 30 reports of bad behavior after filing Freedom of Information Act requests that add to spiraling reports of military leaders misconduct that has rocked the Pentagon over the past 15 months.

"It's just offensive when you see people do some of the things we've seen. It's just completely offensive," an unidentified Army brigadier general told the Post. "As officers we ought to be held to a higher standard. Some of this stuff you're seeing with folks is just completely unacceptable."

The Post reviewed cases since Oct. 1. 2012; in November that year, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review ethics training for military officers in the wake of the David Petraeus sex scandal.

Yet so many other cases continued to come to light that President Obama called the situation "shameful and disgraceful" last June.

The Post noted an ethics review by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, on how the military teaches "core value and ethical leadership" to its officers is due Feb. 14.

The Post reported among the previously undisclosed misconduct was a case involving Martin Schweitzer, a commander with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, who after a polite meeting with Ellmers about issues involving Fort Bragg, sent out salacious emails to two other generals about her "smoking hot" looks and with x-rated sexual comments.

According to the Post, Ellmers called the emails "entirely inappropriate, and added: "I am pleased with the corrective actions that are taking place and how they handled this very difficult situation."

Schweitzer didn't respond to the Post's requests for comment.

Also, the Post reported on Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts who warned his troops at Fort Jackson, S.C., last spring about the "zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual assault" — even as he himself was under investigation for allegedly physically assaulting a mistress. 

"This, like many cases, is far more complex than the documents would suggest," Gary Myers, his lawyer, told the Post. The general, he added, "has expressed deep regret for the relationship with the woman and has accepted responsibility for that relationship."

Additionally, the Post reported David Uhrich, a one-star Air Force general, allegedly drank on duty at Joint Base Langley-Eustis so often another officer told investigators "if he did not have his alcohol, the wheels would come off." The married general, who then sought treatment, the Post reported, also was investigated for allegedly having an affair, something banned under military law.

He also declined to comment to the Post.

The new events come as the Navy has been socked with a sex-and-bribery scandal, the Air Force has been embarrassed by a commander who went on a bender in Moscow, and the Army has dealt with a top commander in Africa who spent thousands of dollars on luxury living at taxpayer expense.

"President Obama expects the nation's senior military leaders to demonstrate the highest standards of ethical conduct," Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, told the Post in an email.

"The President has conveyed to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that instances of senior general and flag officers not living up to these standards must be addressed effectively."

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