FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- An Army brigadier general who served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan has been charged with forcible sodomy, multiple counts of adultery and having inappropriate relationships with several female subordinates, two U.S. defense officials said Wednesday.
The defense officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide details on the case.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair faces possible courts martial on charges that include forced sex, wrongful sexual conduct, violating an order, possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed, and misusing a government travel charge card and filing fraudulent claims.
Sinclair, who served as deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, was sent home in May because of the allegations, the officials said. Since he returned to the U.S., Sinclair has been assigned as a special assistant to the commanding general of 18th Airborne Corps. Often when general officers are under investigation they are temporarily assigned as special assistants to more senior officers or commanders.
The charges were announced at a brief press conference Wednesday at Fort Bragg, the sprawling U.S. Army base in North Carolina that is home to the 82nd Airborne. After reading a prepared statement, base spokesman Col. Kevin Arata refused to take questions. Reporters were told all questions would have to be made in writing and that no response was likely to come until the following day.
Sinclair was informed of the charges on Monday but has not been placed under arrest. The next step will be an Article 32 investigation, including a preliminary hearing to determine if the matter should go to trial. No date has been set for the hearing, which Arata said would be open to the public.
It was not clear if Sinclair had an attorney, and a phone listing found for him was disconnected.
Sinclair had arrived in Afghanistan for his deployment in September 2011, but had been serving as the division's deputy commander since July 2010.
Sinclair, a trained paratrooper who has been in the Army for 27 years, was serving his third deployment to Afghanistan. He had also served two tours in Iraq, as well as a tour in the first Gulf war.
It's rare for an Army general to face court martial. There have been only two cases in recent years.
Earlier this year, Army Brig. Gen. Roger Duff pleaded guilty to charges of conduct unbecoming an officer, wearing unauthorized awards or ribbons and making a false official statement. He was sentenced to two months confinement and dismissal from the military. Under a pre-trial agreement, only the dismissal may be imposed. The case is still pending, said Army spokesman George Wright.
Prior to that, Maj. Gen. David Hale pleaded guilty to seven counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of making a false statement, also in connection with adultery. He was fined $10,000 and was ordered to retire at the reduced rank of brigadier general, Wright said.
Baldor reported from Washington.
Follow AP writer Michael Biesecker at twitter.com/mbieseck
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Start of War: Oct. 7, 2001
<em>American soldiers hide behind a barricade during an explosion, prior to fighting with Taliban forces November 26, 2001 at the fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)</em>
Number of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan: 88,000
<em>US Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed from the USS Bataan's Amphibious Ready Group arrive December 14, 2001 at an undisclosed location with field gear and weapons. (Photo by Johnny Bivera/Getty Images)</em>
Number of Troops at War's Peak
<em>U.S. Marines begin to form up their convoy at a staging area near Kandahar, Afghanistan, as they await orders to begin their trek to Kandahar to take control of the airfield 13 December, 2001. (DAVE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)</em><br><br> Number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the war's peak: About 101,000 in 2010. Allies provided about 40,000.
<em>U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a televised address from the East Room of the White House on June 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais-Pool/Getty Images)</em><br><br> Withdrawal plans: 23,000 U.S. troops expected to come home by the end of the summer, leaving about 68,000 in Afghanistan. Most U.S. troops expected to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, though the U.S. is expected to maintain a sizeable force of military trainers and a civilian diplomatic corps.
Number of U.S. Casualties
<em>American flags, each one representing the 4,454 American soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, move in the breeze at The Christ Congregational United Church March 17, 2008 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)</em><br><br> Number of U.S. casualties: At least 1,828 members of the U.S. military killed as of Tuesday, according to an Associated Press count. According to the Defense Department, 15,786 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action.
Afghan Civilian Casualties
<em>Asan Bibi, 9, sits on a bench as burn cream is applied to her at Mirwais hospital October 13, 2009 Kandahar, Afghanistan. She, her sister and mother were badly burned when a helicopter fired into their tent in the middle of the night on October 3rd, according to their father. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)</em><br><br> Afghan civilian casualties: According to the United Nations, 11,864 civilians were killed in the conflict between 2007, when the U.N. began reporting statistics, and the end of 2011.
Cost of the War
<em>An Iraqi man counts money behind a pile of American dollars in his currency exchange bureau in Baghdad on April 11, 2012. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)</em><br><br> Cost of the war: $443 billion from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Number of Times Obama Has Visited Afghanistan
<em>US President Barack Obama speaks to troops during a visit to Bagram Air Field on May 1, 2012 in Afghanistan. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) </em><br><br> Number of times Obama has visited Afghanistan: 3 as president, including Tuesday, and 1 as a presidential candidate.