Closing arguments to begin in Army sexual-misconduct case
August 24, 1997
Web posted at: 10:49 p.m. EDT (0249 GMT)
From Correspondent Carl Rochelle
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After two months of testimony, closing
arguments begin Monday in the Army's sexual misconduct case
against its top enlisted man, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gene
McKinney. A military official will then decide whether to
recommend a court-martial.
During the hearing that began June 25, six women testified
that McKinney made improper sexual advances toward them. The
accusers, including a major, described a pattern of unwanted
hugs, suggestive remarks and outright requests for sex that
McKinney allegedly made.
"He denies it. It absolutely never happened."
Charles Gittins, defense attorney
One of the women, a married sergeant with two children,
alleged that McKinney took advantage of their friendship to
force her to have sex with him. She was eight months
pregnant at the time.
McKinney's attorney, Charles Gittins, says the charges
against his client, who is black, are racially motivated.
McKinney is the first African American to serve as sergeant
major of the Army.
"He denies it. It absolutely never happened," Gittins said.
Col. Robert Jarvis, the presiding officer at the hearing,
will have 15 days to make his recommendation.
Even McKinney's attorneys concede that the recommendation is
likely to be a court-martial, and most observers believe it
will be accepted by the Fort Myer, Virginia, base commander,
who has 30 days to deliberate.
McKinney, who was suspended from his position as sergeant
major in February, could face more than 50 years in a
military prison if he is convicted on all charges.