For the first time ever, a U.S. general has been convicted by a military judge of sexual misconduct charges, Fox News reports.
The general is Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley.
The incident that led to Cooley’s conviction stems from 2018 when he was given a ride home by a civilian woman following a barbeque that Cooley attended in New Mexico. The woman has been identified as the wife of Cooley’s brother.
The Dayton Daily News reports:
[T]he two-star general was reported to have touched the complainant in the case — forcing his tongue in her mouth, forcing her hand to his genitals, and pushing his hand between her legs, and cupping her breast, according to an Air Force charge sheet.
Accordingly, Cooley faced three specifications of sexual misconduct.
After five hours of deliberation, Air Force Judge Col. Christina Jimenez found Co0ley guilty of one of the specifications, the one in which Cooley forced his tongue into her mouth. Cooley was acquitted of the other two specifications.
Fox reports: “This is the first-ever military trial of an Air Force general and subsequently, the first conviction of a general since the Air Force was established in 1947.”
Next up will be the penalty phase of the trial for Cooley. Cooley is facing seven years of imprisonment.
It was also initially reported that Cooley is facing the loss of his rank, pay, and/or benefits. But, an Air Force spokesperson has subsequently clarified that Cooley is not facing the loss of his rank.