Apr 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. Air Force general convicted on 1 of 3 sexual misconduct charges

A photo of US Air Force Major General William Cooley.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley Photo: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force announced Saturday that a major general was found guilty by a military judge of one of three abusive sexual contact specifications in Ohio.

The big picture: The verdict in the case of Maj. Gen. William Cooley, who pleaded not guilty to all three specifications related to a 2018 incident involving a woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico, "marks the first court-martial trial and conviction of a general officer in the Air Force’s 75 year history," per a U.S. Air Force statement.

  • "Today marks the first time an Air Force general officer has been held responsible for his heinous actions," said the victim, an Air Force civilian employee, in a statement via her personal attorney, Ryan Guilds, according to the Dayton Daily News. "Hopefully, this will not be as difficult for the next survivor."

Details: Cooley faced one charge of sexual assault under Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, with three specifications — one of forcible kissing and two of forcible touching, according to an Air Force charge sheet.

  • The former Air Force Research Laboratory commander was found guilty of the first specification, but cleared of the other two by Col. Christina Jimenez, the senior military judge in the case, the Air Force said.

What they're saying: "This case clearly demonstrates the commitment of Air Force leaders to fully investigate the facts and hold Airmen of any rank accountable for their actions when they fail to uphold Air Force standards," said Col. Eric Mejia, Staff Judge Advocate for Air Force Materiel Command, in a statement.

What's next: Cooley's sentencing hearing is due to begin on Monday.

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