Retired general to plead guilty on some charges
Improper sexual relationships alleged
March 16, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Retired Army Maj. Gen. David Hale, accused of sexual improprieties with the wives of subordinates, has agreed to plead guilty to some charges in exchange for limitations on his sentence, his attorney said Tuesday.The Army had said earlier Tuesday that it would hold a court-martial in the case, after Hale waived a pretrial hearing.
Hale, a two-star general, allegedly forced one woman into a sexual relationship and had affairs with three others from 1996 to 1998, when he was allowed to retire as an investigation into his conduct continued.
He is accused of one count of "making false official statements" and seven counts of "conduct unbecoming an officer". Previously, Hale had been accused of 17 violations of military law.
He is not charged with adultery.
Like other officers, Hale is subject to military laws for life and would become the first Army general to be tried as a retiree and only the third officer of general or admiral rank to face general court-martial since the Uniform Code of Military Justice was adopted in 1951.
Hale waived a so-called Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury, where preliminary facts would have been presented to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to go ahead with a full trial.
Without the hearing, the case would normally go straight to trial where Hale will be judged by a jury of generals superior in rank to him. If convicted, he could be stripped of his rank, lose his retirement pay or possibly face imprisonment of up to 11 years.
Hale retired abruptly in February 1998 in the midst of the highly publicized sexual misconduct court-martial of Gene McKinney, former sergeant major of the army and the service's highest-ranking enlisted man.
McKinney was acquitted of the sexual misconduct charges, but the decision to allow Hale's retirement opened the Army to criticism that it applied a double standard favoring commissioned officers over its rank and file.
Since then, the Army has adopted a policy requiring its civilian secretary to approve all retirements of one- or two-star generals.
The Navy last year declined to court-martial a one-star admiral, who had steered government contracts to a civilian woman with whom he had an adulterous affair.
Instead, Rear. Adm. John Scudi received administrative punishment, and will likely be reduced in rank to captain, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential retirement benefits.
According to military historians, the last time an Army general was tried by court-martial was in 1952.
Maj. Gen. Robert W. Grow was convicted of dereliction of duty, and security infractions. Grow lost a diary while in Moscow and parts of it were published in the Soviet press.
He was sentenced to be reprimanded and suspended from command for six months.
In 1957, retired Rear Adm. Selden G. Hooper was convicted of sodomy, conduct unbecoming an officer and indecent acts.
He was sentenced to total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dismissal from the service. At the time of trial, Admiral Hooper had been retired for seven years.Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report.
Retired general accused of adultery, 'inappropriate behavior'
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