State News

Army general wanted nude photos, witness testifies

Posted November 7, 2012 12:04 p.m. EST
Updated November 7, 2012 6:12 p.m. EST

— A hearing to determine whether an Army general will face a military trial on sex charges entered its third day of testimony on Wednesday with a captain who says the general pressed her to provide nude photos of herself.

The woman testified that Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair repeatedly asked her to send the nude photos, which she said made her uncomfortable. Eventually, she said, she sent him photos she downloaded from pornographic websites with the woman's head cropped out of the images.

The woman said she and Sinclair did not have a sexual relationship and that they had met in person only three times more than a decade ago.

Their relationship was primarily through emails, she said, but on cross-examination, she said she told Sinclair that she loved him and wished they were closer.

An Army major also testified Wednesday that she sent photos of her breasts and a personal video to Sinclair. The major said she had served as a company commander under Sinclair and that they became friends after they were no longer in the same chain of command.

Sinclair served as a deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division until he was relieved in May. He faces 26 criminal charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct and adultery, which is a crime under the military justice system.

The allegations against Sinclair involve relationships with five women other than his wife.

The military investigated the women who testified Wednesday for adultery and fraternization, but she passed a polygraph test in connection with Sinclair. She received a letter of reprimand, but that is on hold and she was ordered to testify.

On Tuesday, a second female captain testified that Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex and threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone. The woman had a three-year affair with the married general at Army bases in the United States, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the government rested its case, defense attorneys began calling witnesses, including an officer who said the captain who testified Tuesday was not a professional officer and was flirtatious.

Sinclair potentially faces penalties up to life in prison if convicted at courts martial on the most serious charges. However, there is no minimum punishment or sentencing guidelines in the military court system, meaning Sinclair could be convicted but not punished. He could also be forced to retire or reduced in rank.

Experts familiar with the military justice system have said it was unlikely Sinclair would receive considerable prison time if convicted.