Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is accused of multiple sex crimes involving female subordinates, and his trial is a huge deal, since high-ranking Army generals rarely have to face a court martial or otherwise deal with claims of sexual assault, thus creating a hushed-up rape culture within the military.
But yesterday, one of the women finally testified: an Army captain who allegedly had a 3-year affair with Sinclair, who she said threatened to kill her if she told anyone about their relationship. On other occasions, when he wasn't too busy administering death threats, he would tell her how much water to drink and when and where she could use the bathroom.
We can't imagine why it's historically been so hard to get military women to open up about the powerful officials who abuse them!
From the AP:
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...
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."
As is often the case, their relationship is more complicated than straight-up rape: the woman said she was first flattered by Sinclair's attention, because he was "highly regarded."
"I was extremely intimidated by him. Everybody in the brigade spoke about him like he was a god," she said.
The defense is ON that victim-blaming train already, of course:
During their cross examination, defense lawyers for the general worked to paint the captain as a jilted lover seeking revenge, saying that Sinclair had passed a polygraph test during which he denied ever forcing her to have oral sex with him.
A defense lawyer also confronted the captain with explicit text messages in which she referred the general as "Mr. Sexy Pants." His pet name for her was Panda. The captain also expressed her love and admiration for Sinclair in writing, comparing him in a birthday card to George Washington, a general he greatly admired.
But this is the saddest part:
Even testifying against him on the witness stand, with Sinclair potentially facing life in prison if convicted, the captain admitted part of her was still eager to please him.
"In a (expletive)-up way I still love him," she admitted. "I don't want him to be mad at me."
Hopefully her honesty won't cost him the repercussions he deserves.
Ex-subordinate: Army general in sex case threatened to kill her if she disclosed affair [AP]