Army's top enlisted soldier faces new sex chargesJuly 18, 1997
Web posted at: 12:25 p.m. EDT (1625 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Army's top enlisted soldier, Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney, will face new charges of sexual misconduct involving a fifth alleged victim, the Army said Friday in a press release.
Unlike his previous accusers, the fifth woman in the case is a commissioned officer. The new charges include assault on an officer and solicitation of adultery. The woman is an Army major now on active duty in Europe; the charges are based on events that allegedly transpired in 1994, when she was a captain.
Assault on a commissioned officer carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and allowances and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade.
McKinney already faced 18 counts of sexual misconduct, including charges of indecent assault and adultery, from four women, all either active duty or retired enlisted women. He has denied all of the charges.
The new accuser, whom the Army did not name, is expected to testify in a preliminary hearing, already under way, to determine whether McKinney should be court-martialed.
First accuser to testify voluntarily
Retired Sgt. Maj. Brenda Hoster, the first woman to accuse the Army's top enlisted soldier of sexual misconduct, will also testify in the hearings. She says that while she was McKinney's public affairs specialist, he made sexual overtures to her in a hotel room on a business trip. The hearing, now in its fourth week, is on recess until July 24.
Hoster had previously refused to testify, saying that other women in the case were treated unfairly during the hearing at Washington's Fort McNair. Her attorney, Susan Barnes, said she wanted assurances that she would be protected from abusive questions and questions about her sex life.
On Thursday, a hearing officer said military officials had ordered her to give a sworn statement and undergo cross-examination by defense lawyers. She had previously given a statement but was not cross-examined.
But later in the day, she agreed to testify voluntarily. Barnes says she has received assurances that prosecuting attorneys will object to any questions that are not relevant to the charges against McKinney. Military court rules generally bar questioning of accusers about such matters, and the hearing's presiding officer, Col. Robert Jarvis, said Thursday he intends to enforce the rule.
"We've made the point we wanted to make," Barnes said. "Now she's happy to testify voluntarily."
McKinney's attorney had indicated he wanted to question Hoster about a sworn statement in which a soldier claims she saw Hoster having sex with another female soldier in the barracks.
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