Brig. General Jeffrey Sinclair, accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate, was fined $20,000 and reprimanded. He could have received up to 25 years in jail for the initial charges, says NPR. The case fell apart because of credibility problems with the accuser; a plea deal dropped the more serious charges. Now, the sentence has infuriated members of Congress and victim advocates.
The defense agreed in the plea deal with prosecutors that Sinclair should face jail time, which is probably why the defense lawyer was heard to say wow when the sentence was announced by a military judge. There’s been much attention on sexual assault in the military over the past year, and this case was considered exhibit A of the problem. Sinclair was only the third general ever to face prosecution. The main accuser was an Army captain, and the general had inappropriate relationships with two other women officers. He threatened to kill the main accuser or her family if she ever told anyone about the affair. The accuser had credibility problems. There was evidence that she continued the affair after the date she said Sinclair had assaulted her.