U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair got out of a possible prison sentence yesterday after a military decided to instead impose a fine and reprimand on the military officer. Sinclair became the highest ranking military member to be tried for sexual assault when he was accused of forcible sodomy, adultery, and inappropriate communications with female officers.
Sinclair was initially looking at serving a life sentence in prison should he have been found guilty of sexual assault. However, those charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of adultery, disobeying a commander’s order, and inappropriate communications with female officers. Those charges alone should have gotten him 18 months in prison, but the judge only handed the accused a $20,000 fine and a reprimand.
Sinclair got off easy even for the charges that stuck as he will not get discharged from the military, or even demoted for that matter. VICE reported that he’ll get offered early retirement with full retirement benefits.
This case came at a time when military sexual assaults were hot in the spotlight, the country was paying attention, and it appeared that this one could be the example. Here’s an army general, the highest military official to face such charges in 60 years additionally, who faced serious accusations as the captain he allegedly attacked said that he forced her to perform oral sex, even after protest.
Considering the standing charges (the military considers adultery a crime), General Sinclair got off lightly, and victims’ advocates, as well as we at Ring of Fire, cry foul and signal this ruling as an injustice.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.