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Retired general may now face reduced rank in sex case

July 14, 1999
Web posted at: 9:45 PM EDT (0145 GMT)

From National Security Producer Chris Plante

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A retired Army general convicted on multiple counts of "conduct unbecoming an officer" involving inappropriate sexual relationships with the wives of subordinate officers now also faces possible reduction in rank, the Army said Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. David Hale was allowed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer to quickly and quietly retire from the service "with honor" after the sexual misconduct allegations first surfaced last year.

Accused by four women of using his rank and power over their husbands' careers to coerce sex from them -- and then lying about it to Army investigators -- Hale had initially faced 17 charges and a possible maximum penalty of more than 50 years in prison.

Hale was convicted earlier this year on seven counts of "conduct unbecoming an officer" for the sexual misconduct and on one count of "making false official statements" to investigators. The court-martial gave Hale no jail time but instead took away $12,000 in retirement pay and fined him $10,000.

Hale, who held the high position of deputy inspector general of the Army when the allegations came to light, was the first general officer in the history of the U.S. Army to be brought to court martial after retirement. The last time an active duty general was court-martialed was in 1952, the Army said.

Army Secretary Louis Caldera has directed that a "review board" of at least three Army officers senior in rank to Hale look again at his pattern of misconduct and recommend to the secretary's office whether he be allowed to maintain the rank of major general (two star) in retirement or whether he should be reduced in rank to brigadier general (one star).

A military court-martial is not empowered to reduce an officer's rank so the process must be conducted outside of the court-martial process by a review board.

Such a post-retirement reduction in rank to brigadier general would mean that Hale's retirement pay would be reduced by about $750 per month. He currently receives $6,250 per month in retirement pay, according to Army officials who spoke on the condition that they not be named.

If his rank and retirement pay are reduced, the reduction would be retroactive to his date of retirement.

The review board will make its recommendation to Caldera, who will make the final determination as to Hale's fate. That process is expected to take at least several months, an official said.

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