Army moves forward in sex-misconduct case against retired general
Web posted at: 3:06 p.m. EDT (1906 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Army decided on Wednesday to move ahead in its case against a former two-star general who has been accused of adultery and other misconduct.
In a statement released at the Pentagon, the Army said the case of retired Maj. Gen. David Hale would be handed over to Army Gen. Thomas Schwartz, who serves as the head of U.S. Forces Command in Fort McPherson, Georgia, and is in charge of overseeing troops based in the United States.
Schwartz is expected to decide whether to punish Hale administratively or order an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury.
If such a hearing is conducted, it would determine whether the evidence against Hale is strong enough to warrant a trial. If so -- and if Schwartz agrees with the recommendation -- Hale could be court-martialed.
If convicted in a court-martial, Hale could face a prison term. But if punished administratively, he could only lose pension benefits.
Hale's case became controversial when Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer allowed Hale to retire in February even though he was still being investigated for sexual misconduct.
That decision prompted criticism that the Army had a "double standard" of prosecuting lower-ranking officers and enlisted personnel, while allowing senior officers to retire quietly without punishment.
In July, a Pentagon investigation found that Hale had "engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior," including adultery with one woman, and improper relationships with three other women.
The report concluded that the sexual activity had been consensual.
Hale was accused by Donnamaria Carpino of coercing her into a sexual relationship by threatening her husband's Army career, at a NATO base in Izmir, Turkey.
Carpino claims Hale manipulated her into a relationship by falsely accusing her officer-husband of adultery, and then offering to protect him from prosecution if she became his lover.
The Pentagon inspector general report did not substantiate that charge but did find that Hale committed adultery with Carpino and had improper relationships with three other wives of subordinate officers.
Hale denies the charges and has filed a slander suit against Carpino.
In addition the Pentagon report found Hale had "sanctioned the misuse of government funds ... and made false and misleading statements in an effort to deceive others concerning his conduct".
Correspondent Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report.
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