A US Air Force general is facing court-martial for the first time ever. He has been charged with sexual assault.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley USAF

  • A US Air Force general is being court-martialed for the first time in the historical past of the service.

  • The cost is linked to allegations of sexual assault towards a civilian throughout a 2018 off-duty incident.

  • The Air Force mentioned it is unclear at this time when the court-martial will happen.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A US Air Force two-star general is facing court-martial in a first for the Air Force, the service mentioned Wednesday.

A sexual assault cost towards Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley, former commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, has been referred to court-martial, Air Force Materiel Command said in a statement.

“After a comprehensive review of all of the evidence from the investigation and the Article 32 preliminary hearing, I’ve informed Maj. Gen. Cooley of my decision to move his case to general court-martial,” Gen. Arnold Bunch, the AFMC commander, said.

“I can assure you this was not a decision made lightly, but I believe it was the right decision,” he added.

The sexual assault cost towards the general is tied to an off-duty incident in 2018 through which Cooley allegedly made undesired sexual advances, particularly kissing and touching, towards a civilian girl in New Mexico, the Air Force mentioned.

Cooley was fired from his place at the analysis lab in January of final yr following an investigation into the incident, and he was charged below the Uniformed Code of Military Justice final November observe additional evaluate. The case then proceeded to an Article 32 listening to in February, and now the general is headed to a court-martial.

Air Force Materiel Command spokesman Derek Kaufman, in addition to the Air Force public affairs workplace, confirmed to Insider that this was the first time in Air Force historical past a general officer has confronted one of these trial.

The Air Force emphasised in its assertion on the determination to proceed to court-martial that simply as is true for civilian trials, Cooley is presumed harmless till confirmed responsible. Insider was unable to succeed in Cooley’s authorized staff for remark.

The determination to refer the sexual assault expenses towards Cooley to court-martial were first reported by Military.com.

Cooley is not the first Air Force general officer to face allegations of sexual misconduct, however none of these circumstances moved to a general court-martial. The Air Force declined to take a position on why this case is shifting ahead when others didn’t.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rachel VanLandingham, a former choose advocate who now teaches legislation, told Task & Purpose in November that general officers “don’t want to prosecute each other because it’s this old boy chummy network.” But that could possibly be altering.

President Joe Biden’s secretary of protection, retired four-star general Lloyd Austin, has made combating sexual assault in the navy a precedence. One of his first acts after taking workplace was to order a review of how the military handles these kinds of cases.

As for Cooley’s case, “the Air Force trial judiciary will identify a senior military judge and coordinate timing and venue for the court-martial proceeding,” the Air Force defined, including that “jurors, or court members, must either be officers of higher rank, or equivalent grade but with an earlier date of rank to the accused.”

Air Force public affairs officers advised Insider that it is at the moment unclear precisely when the court-martial will happen.

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