Re "Army general gets no jail in sex case," March 21
Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is a sexual predator who has been afforded access and cover by the authority of his position and rank within the military. The slap on the wrist he received sends a powerful message throughout the military that the good-old boys' club is alive and well.
Sinclair's lenient punishment is an outrage that we can't afford to tolerate and a clear indication that justice can't be served within the military when it comes to sexual predation. It suggests that those who sit in judgment within the military could not themselves withstand the bright light of inquiry.
We must take swift and sure action to make the military secure from sexual predation and ensure that predators, no matter their rank, are held accountable for their actions — particularly when such actions target those beneath them in the chain of command.
Sinclair was reprimanded and fined for his sexual misconduct with a subordinate officer. The Army did not wish to punish his wife and family by taking away his pension and benefits. Isn't that nice.
Make no mistake: Justice is not blind in the Army.
Congress needs to add a charge or an enhancement of "under the color of authority" to the relevant part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A sexual relationship between a general and a lower-rank officer is never truly consensual, just as a drill sergeant cannot have a consensual relationship with a trainee.
We must also consider changing sentencing laws that allow for criminal punishment of the guilty without punishing the family. Congress must act, as for too long generals have been allowed to retire and escape appropriate punishment.
The writer is a retired Army sergeant first class.