Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been charged with forcible sodomy, multiple counts of adultery and having inappropriate relationships with several female subordinates. (Photo: U.S. Army file photo, AP)
- Sinclair was deputy commander in charge of logistics
- The subordinate says she and Sinclair first had sex in 2008
- Sinclair's former commanding officer testified that he launched the criminal investigation
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (AP) - A female U.S. Army captain testified Tuesday that her commanding general initiated a sexual affair during a combat tour in Iraq and threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone.
The woman said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was extremely controlling, even telling her how much water to drink and when and where she could use the bathroom during a later combat tour in Afghanistan.
She said she repeatedly tried to end the relationship and asked Sinclair, a married man, for a transfer.
On two occasions, she testified the general ended such conversations by exposing himself and physically forcing her to perform oral sex.
When a prosecutor asked if Sinclair should have been able to tell that she did not want to participate, the captain responded: "Yes, I was crying."
The woman testified on the second day of a military hearing on whether there was enough evidence to court-martial Sinclair on charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct and engaging in inappropriate relationships.
It is a rare criminal case against a general, and the details from the hearing are the first public narrative of the alleged offenses that prosecutors say involved a total of five women: four of them military subordinates and one a civilian.
During the woman's testimony, Sinclair repeatedly rolled his eyes, sighed audibly and stared at his former aide from the defense table as she sobbed. She did not look back at him.
The woman says she was honored at first by the attention from Sinclair, who she said was highly regarded. They first had sex in 2008 at a forward operating base in Iraq, she said.
"I was extremely intimidated by him. Everybody in the brigade spoke about him like he was a god," she said. The Associated Press does not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults.
The captain testified that she believed Sinclair's threats to kill her because he had gone through special forces training, knew how to kill with his hands and had a reputation as a killer in battle.
Sinclair was deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan before being abruptly relieved in May amid a criminal probe. He has been on special assignment since then at Fort Bragg, the sprawling North Carolina post that is home to the 82nd Airborne.
Sinclair's former commanding officer, Maj. Gen. James Huggins, testified Monday that he launched the criminal investigation on March 19 after the captain came to his office at the division's headquarters in Afghanistan late at night and in tears.
She reported that she had been involved in an affair with Sinclair. Adultery is a crime under the military code of justice, and Huggins said the captain understood that making such a report could end her military career. After making her report, her security clearance was suspended and she was relieved of her duties.
After becoming so conflicted and depressed about the relationship she wished for her own death, the soldier testified she finally reported the affair and the abuse after finding messages from another woman in the general's military e-mail account, which she reviewed as part of her work duties.
Even on the witness stand, with the general facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence, the captain said part of her was eager to please him.
"In a (expletive)-up way I still love him," she admitted. "I don't want him to be mad at me."
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