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Ralston Adultery Case Shows Inequity of Air Force, Flinn Says

<i> From Reuters</i>

Former 1st Lt. Kelly Flinn, who was discharged from the Air Force for having an adulterous affair, said Sunday that the treatment she received was indicative of a double standard in such cases, based on sex and rank.

In a guest essay appearing in the issue of Newsweek that goes on sale today, Flinn compared her case to that of Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston.

Ralston, who has been under consideration to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been supported by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen despite controversy over his admission that he had an adulterous affair years ago.

“I commend Secretary Cohen for taking a stand, for recognizing that people do make mistakes and learn,” Flinn said. But she said she received no such support, and added: “I sure wish that had happened to me.”

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“Our cases were very much the same, but we were treated very differently,” Flinn said. “I don’t know all the facts of Gen. Ralston’s case, but I know enough to realize that in most important respects, we were in the same situation.

“This was all about our private lives. What we did had no effect on our performance in any way, shape or form,” she said.

But she said their superiors had handled their cases very differently.

Flinn, the nation’s first female B-52 bomber pilot, was forced to leave the service last month without the honorable discharge she requested to avoid court-martial on charges of adultery, having sex with an enlisted man and lying about the matter.

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