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June-27-97

Hearings Begin on Harassment Charges Against Army’s Highest-Ranking Sergeant

Hearings began this week to determine whether the Army's highest-ranking enlisted soldier should be court-martialed for alleged charges of indecent assault, adultery, and obstruction of justice. Sgt. Christine A. Roy, a key witness for the prosecution, testified against Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney on June 26. She was disappointed to learn that, because of loopholes in the law, McKinney faces lesser charges than she believes he deserves. The case is highly political because of McKinney's high-profile position.

During her testimony, Roy said McKinney pressured her into having sex with him even though they are both married. She eventually consented because she did not want to jeopardize her career. Her concerns for McKinney's effect on her career stem from the fact that the male soldier holds an office in the Pentagon and advises the chief of staff on all matters relating to enlisted personnel. Roy and two other women who have accused McKinney are subject to his orders. McKinney denies all charges and claims his four accusers, who are white, are discriminating against him because he is black. The second alleged victim was scheduled to testify on June 27 in the preliminary hearing. After the preliminary hearing, Col. Owen C. Powell will weigh the evidence and determine whether to proceed with a trial, alter the charges against McKinney, or dismiss the case. McKinney has requested permission to retire but has received no official response from the Army.

Media Resources: CNN Online - June 26, 1997, AP Online - June 26, 1997, Reuters - June 27, 1997

   

     

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