Aide: General in sex case threatened to kill her

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — An 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. The Associated Press does not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults.

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 at Fort Bragg 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 testimony, the woman often broke down in tears as she recounted their 3-year relationship. As she spoke, 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 captain testified that she believed Sinclair’s threats to kill her because he had gone through Ranger training, knew how to kill with his hands and had a reputation as being unfazed by violence 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 during the criminal probe. He has been on special assignment since then at Fort Bragg, the sprawling 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.

On Tuesday, the captain testified that Sinclair could be cold and demeaning to her and other female officers in the brigade, calling some of the other women degrading and profane names.

She testified she once told him in private he shouldn’t talk about female officers that way, especially when lower-ranking soldiers might overhear him and follow his example.

“He said he was a general and he could say whatever the (expletive) he wanted,” she testified.

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