The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 13, 2014

General's sexual misconduct trial has a charged backdrop

(Continued)

Critics have also demanded changes in the way defense lawyers question alleged rape victims on their sexual histories. A female cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy who said she was raped by fellow cadets was asked during a preliminary hearing how far she opened her mouth during oral sex. That outraged women’s groups.

The captain in the Sinclair case was repeatedly asked by defense lawyers about details of her sex life.

“This case will show whether the good old boy network still prevails,” said Anita Gorecki, a former Army Judge Advocate General officer who represents military personnel.

Sinclair has admitted to the affair but said it was consensual.

Gorecki said no sexual liaison between a junior officer and a commander can possibly be consensual given the unchallenged authority of senior officers.

“There’s no way out for the female, who’s in an untenable position,” Gorecki said. “You’re on the job 24 hours a day. You can’t just quit. Who do you go to for help? Your commander?”

The captain revealed the affair — and her own violation of military regulations prohibiting adultery — to a major general who is a close friend of Sinclair’s. The captain, who is single, was 29 when the affair began. Sinclair, 51, is the married father of two boys.

In addition to sodomy and adultery charges, Sinclair is charged with using his rank and authority to “coerce and compel” the captain to maintain a sexual relationship and threatening “to damage or ruin her military career if she ended their sexual relationship.”

Sinclair has mounted an aggressive public defense since he was ordered home from Afghanistan in May 2012 and charged that September. He has hired civilian lawyers, along with a New York public relations firm that runs a website defending him.

The site, www.sinclairinnocence.com, says the Army has demonized Sinclair: “They want you to believe that he’s a porn-addicted, alcoholic rapist.”

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