An Army general pled guilty to multiple sex crime charges involving a "tumultuous and illicit affair" with a subordinate female officer, news sources report. The decision followed a plea bargain that dropped additional charges held against him, including
sexual assault. During the plea, the general admitted to causing the woman, "emotional harm and suffering" throughout their relationship.
In an attempt to obtain a lenient sentence, the general's defense attorneys hope to downplay the seriousness of the affair and the general's actions.
Defense lawyers commonly use plea bargains to obtain lesser charges and reduced sentences for serious crimes. In the general's case, he was able to avoid the sexual assault charges altogether - a deal that his defense attorneys applauded. According to the general's defense, the accuser was not just a victim; she was a rejected lover who wanted to retaliate against the general after he refused to leave his wife.
While the validity of these claims are not certain, news sources and the general's defense team speculated that the captain may have lied in a pre-trial hearing. One attorney said, "The government understood that if it allowed [the general's] accuser to be cross-examined, she would be caught in a thick web of her own lies."
To dodge the cross-examination, prosecutors offered the general a plea bargain. In exchange for a guilty plea to adultery and mistreating his mistress, the general will avoid the sexual assault charges and receive lesser punishment for the other offenses.
"I failed her as a leader and a mentor," the general said, "and caused harm to her emotional state." Witnesses report that the general barely kept his composure in court. Reading from a prepared statement, the general said that he led his mistress to believe that he would divorce his wife to be with her. "This was not true," he concluded.
The general's former lover, an Army captain, was not present to hear the statements; however, she testified at the beginning of the hearing. During the hearing, she divulged a meticulous account of her three-year love affair with the general she once worshiped.
By the end of the relationship, she said, the general used his superiority in the Army to keep her in a manipulative, unequal, and emotionally unfair relationship. She described herself as trapped and said that the general used her for sex.
The captain's mother testified on Monday as well, claiming that the relationship left her daughter apprehensive and afraid. According to the mother's testimony, the captain was so distraught that she slept on the couch with a loaded gun and guard dog by her side.
Military judge Col. James L. Pohl accepted the general's guilty plea on Monday. Without the guilty plea, the general would face more than 25 years in prison. According to new sources, the deal will limit the amount of time he can spend behind bars. In addition to dismissal from the Army, the general could face forfeiture of pay allowances. The consequences of his plea will be determined at the end of his sentence hearing.