Yesterday, former deputy commander of the storied 82nd Airborne, Jeffrey Sinclair, 51, was busted in rank from brigadier general to lieutenant colonel by Army Secretary John McHugh.
Earlier this year, a consensual extramarital affair went south, and because a high-ranking military officer was involved, it quickly became media fodder at Fort Bragg, and beyond. It was a classic case of “he said, she said”. He said it was an affair, she said it was forcible sodomy.” Hundreds of explicit text messages, brought out in court, prove there was an ongoing, highly sexual relationship between the two Army officers.
The unnamed woman involved is an Army captain.
Sinclair, described in court as a sexual predator, was also accused of sexual misconduct with four other subordinates.
“Papa Panda Sexy Pants” Sinclair, the term of endearment once used by his accuser, was subsequently tried and convicted, not just for the affair, but for forcing his paramour to perform oral sex.
At the time of the conviction in March 2014, Sinclair was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine, a pretty good break for a crime that carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
With his lower rank, Sinclair will take a significant cut in salary and retirement benefits.
A dubious distinction, Sinclair is believed to be the highest-ranking military officer in the United States to be successfully court-martialed on sexual assault charges such as these. Additionally, this is the first time in ten years the Army has reduced a retiring general by two ranks.
The military has been plagued by sexual assaults and sexual misconduct at every level. Now, with approximately 17% of the U.S. military being female, and with improved reporting measures in place, Soldiers (both male and female) are increasingly more willing to come forward with complaints.
This week the Army announced they are opening up an additional 33,000 jobs to female Soldiers that have previously been off-limits due to gender.
Examiner's Note: Due to an issue with the Examiner Publishing Tool, no photo of Lt. Col. Sinclair was able to be uploaded.