FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - Suspicions of an Army general's extramarital affair with a subordinate had circulated widely enough that soldiers portrayed the two in a sexually suggestive skit at a 2010 party, according to witness testimony Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Bigelow testified at a sentencing hearing that the skit was performed during a party at which Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was being honored in Germany. It involved a soldier dressed up as Sinclair and a soldier dressed as a woman in a brown wig to represent the captain who was his primary accuser, Bigelow testified.
Sinclair has admitted to a three-year affair with the woman and inappropriate relationships with two other subordinates. The captain had also accused him of sexual assault, but those charges were dropped in a plea deal.
During the skit, the character in the wig "moved in front of the Sinclair character's crotch and offered to do something for him," Bigelow said. "There was absolutely no question."
Bigelow said Sinclair's wife attended the party and was "clearly shocked, angered and dismayed." He said the accuser was not at the party.
Sinclair has pleaded to several lesser violations of military law in the plea deal that was accepted by a military judge Monday. Prosecutors finished their part of the sentencing hearing before lunch on Tuesday, and Sinclair's attorneys started calling about 20 character witnesses in the afternoon.
Seeking a lenient sentence, his lawyers will aim to downplay the seriousness of the charges to which he pleaded guilty and call witnesses to discuss the character of the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne.
The captain who is his primary accuser took the stand Monday and said she can't trust anyone and fears her superiors will take advantage of her. The Associated Press generally does not identify those who say they were victims of sexual assault.
Sinclair, 51, had been accused of twice forcing the female captain under his command to perform oral sex during the three-year extramarital affair. A lawyer who advised the accuser issued a statement Monday saying she stood by the assault accusation.
The married general pleaded guilty earlier this month to having improper relationships with three subordinate officers, including the captain. He also pleaded guilty to adultery, which is a crime in the military.
The most serious accusations went to trial, but the court-martial was halted after the military judge found evidence that there may have been improper influence in a decision to reject a previous plea deal. The new deal was then struck, including Sinclair's admission that his treatment of the captain was "unwarranted, unjustified and unnecessary," broke military law and mentally harmed her.
VIA USA Today