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General's wife speaks out on his misconduct probe

By Jennifer Peltz

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:14 a.m. HST, Nov 20, 2012

NEW YORK » As an Army general faces a string of sexual misconduct charges involving female officers, his wife is seeking to stir a broader look at often taboo subjects in military marriages: adultery, the strain of separation and the stress of war.

Rebecca Sinclair stayed away from the days-long military hearing earlier this month at Fort Bragg, N.C., where the allegations against her husband, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, were revealed in detailed testimony. Women officers described an affair, forced sexual encounters and a series of explicit email exchanges with the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

But his wife has since made herself a public face of his defense, and of what she sees as the toll of a decade of war on military couples, many of whom have found themselves in a repeated pattern of deployments, homecomings and moves.

"I am not condoning anything, and I'm not excusing my husband's infidelity. I'm not saying that just because we're on this deployment cycle and because of the war, that causes infidelity," she said by phone Monday from New York, where she had traveled for interviews after airing her feelings in an opinion piece Thursday in The Washington Post. "I'm just trying to understand it, and I'm trying to get conversations started so that people can look behind and see the bigger issue."

Her piece came as adultery in the military has flared up as an issue, following retired Gen. David Petraeus' resignation as CIA director over an affair with his biographer and the disclosure of what officials have described as suggestive emails between a Florida woman and Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan; he says he's done nothing wrong.

It also comes as Jeffrey Sinclair waits to hear whether he'll be court-martialed on charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, misusing a government travel charge card, and possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed. The 27-year Army veteran was relieved in May of his duties overseeing logistics for the 82nd Airborne.

At the recent evidentiary hearing, a female captain who was his direct subordinate in Afghanistan testified she had a three-year affair with her married boss. But she also said that on two occasions, the general forced her to perform oral sex and that he also threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone about their relationship. Two other officers testified that they provided nude photos to him, part of allegations involving his conduct with five women.

The Associated Press does not name victims of alleged sexual assaults unless they agree to be identified or come forward publicly.

Defense lawyers portrayed Sinclair's primary accuser, the captain, as a lying, jealous lover trying to ruin his family and career. Defense lawyer Maj. Elizabeth Ramsey suggested in her closing argument that the general was guilty only of adultery and fraternization, punishable by a written reprimand. The defense team said Sinclair had passed a polygraph test during which he denied sexually assaulting the captain.

Rebecca Sinclair, who said her husband called last spring to tell her of the affair and allegations, said she hoped "the Army will see the evidence for what it is and will clear him of any wrongdoing."

In the meantime, the Sinclairs are trying to mend their relationship, she said. And she is pointing to her personal story as a testament to the pressures on military marriages and families.

Her husband has been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere five times since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, spending a total of six of the past 11 years away from his wife and two children — the eldest, a sixth-grader, has attended six schools so far, Rebecca Sinclair said.

Many military wives know their husbands are unfaithful but stay silent to preserve their families or their financial security, especially because their spouses' own careers can be hampered by frequent moves, said Rebecca Sinclair, who has taught business at various community colleges during her 27-year marriage.

Her husband's affair and the fallout "is very painful for me, very hurtful, but I just really feel that this is something I need to talk about," she said. "Because it's not an isolated case."

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ejkorvette wrote:
Wow! It takes courage for her to stand up and address the public, and more directly, speak out against the military structure that has many times treated this as "in-house" business. Congressmen, Senators, Evangelical Ministers, even past Presidents of the United States of America. The Boys Club needs to be permanently Adjorned, and they need to grow and and stop acting like Irresponsible, Unaccountable Spoiled Brats. Until the Consequences and Punishment is given commensurate with the Horrible crime of Infidelity, Adultery, and Sin, these types of acts will unfortunately continue. My heart goes out to all the Women that are victims of this Heinous crime of Unfaithfulness. The Women Suffer, the Children, and the most terrible of messages are sent throughout the World.
on November 20,2012 | 03:08AM
bender wrote:
It takes two to tango and it seems like the "boys club" is finding more than a few willing partners. But haven't you heard, TailHook ended the boys club.
on November 20,2012 | 04:38AM
inHilo wrote:
The "crime of Infidelity, Adultery, and Sin"? Last I looked "sin" is not punishable by military justice. But "charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, misusing a government travel charge card, and possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed" are. If guilty of any of those, he should be punished. But Rebecca Sinclair is right in pointing out that military families live with incredible pressure. "Her husband has been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere five times since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, spending a total of six of the past 11 years away from his wife and two children." Remember that WWII lasted less than 5 years for the U.S. For men and women in that situation it is impossible for me to see infidelity as a crime. It is a breach of trust that should be resolved by the two people involved but not a crime.
on November 20,2012 | 05:34AM
LittleEarl_01 wrote:
This lady could take a lesson from the song, "Stand By Your Man." It would appear that she has decided to "Stand In Front Of Her Man," perhaps to get her 15 minutes of fame. Don't blame the military, the separations, the unaccompanied tours, for your husband's lack of morals. It was his decision to be an adulterer, not the military.
on November 20,2012 | 04:11AM
bender wrote:
I'm wondering if the lady wants to open up discussions on shorter deployments so her husbands horns can be trimmed on a more frequent basis, and maybe for all the members of the all volunteer force. Times are changing LittleEarl, it's not like it was when we served.
on November 20,2012 | 04:39AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
When asked about that, she replied, "Look, if there is any de-balling to be done here, I will be the one with the nut cutters."
on November 20,2012 | 11:15AM
JKertis wrote:
Agree with LittleEarl. I spent years away from my wife on military deployments and never cheated on her.
on November 20,2012 | 04:25AM
retire wrote:
Oh, come come now, if gays and lesbians are acceptable in the military, shouldn' t adulters, pederasts, and all manner of proclivities be accepted as well? Lets just be one big happy disfuctional family of man everybody.
on November 20,2012 | 06:22AM
DABLACK wrote:
Its questionable that this country can not fight (2) fronts at the same time. The "All volunteer" force is stretched thin. Congress needs to step up and address the issue very quickly, or plenty good warriors and their loved ones will continue to be hurt. We lost a lot of good men already. This issue was discussed a few years ago. What was the result ?? Nay ! no tell me...Hard when a military man tell a civilian the truth, they do the opposite !! God Bless America.
on November 20,2012 | 07:41AM
Ronin006 wrote:
What's the big deal? The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces did it in the 1990s, got away with it and was allowed to keep his job. That was President Bill Clinton. Defenders of Clinton (Democrats) argued that what two consenting adults did was no one else’s business.
on November 20,2012 | 09:00AM
alfie1 wrote:
this is all a crock of____ Should not be printed in the newspapers let the mil. judicial-take care....
on November 20,2012 | 11:38AM
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