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US Officer accuses general of sexual misconduct

first_imgWashington DC: A senior military officer has accused the Air Force general tapped to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of sexual misconduct, potentially jeopardizing his nomination. Members of Congress have raised questions about the allegations and the military investigation that found insufficient evidence to charge him. The officer told The Associated Press that Gen. John Hyten subjected her to a series of unwanted sexual advances by kissing, hugging and rubbing up against her in 2017 while she was one of his aides. She said that he tried to derail her military career after she rebuffed him. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingThe Air Force investigated the woman’s allegations, which she reported days after Hyten’s nomination was announced in April, and found there was insufficient evidence to charge the general or recommend any administrative punishment. The alleged victim remains in the military but has moved to a different job. “My life was ruined by this,” she told the AP. The woman asked to not be identified by name. The AP generally does not identify those who say they have been sexually assaulted. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangThe accusations against Hyten come at a time when the Pentagon has had an unusual amount of turmoil in its senior ranks, with only an acting defense secretary for the past six months. One of President Donald Trump’s nominees for that position recently withdrew after details of his contentious divorce surfaced. On Sunday, an admiral selected to be the top Navy officer withdrew due to what officials said was an inappropriate professional relationship. It’s unclear when, or if, Hyten’s confirmation hearing will move forward. It has not been scheduled, despite the fact that the current vice chairman, Gen. Paul Selva, is scheduled to retire at the end of the month. Air Force Col. DeDe Halfhill, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Hyten’s nomination remains on course. “With more than 38 years of service to our nation, Gen. Hyten has proven himself to be a principled and dedicated patriot,” she said. A senior Air Force official said investigators went through 10,000 pages of documents, conducted interviews with as many as 50 people and pursued every lead, but did not uncover evidence to support the allegations. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters, added that they also found no evidence that the woman was lying. The official said Last month, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth sent a letter to acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking why Hyten was not removed from his post amid the investigation. The letter, obtained by the AP, raised questions about whether he received special treatment. The woman making the allegations said she, too, wonders if Hyten received special treatment because of his rank, and she fears her honesty and motives will be questioned because of the circumstances and timing of her allegations. The woman began working for Hyten in November 2016. Though he is an Air Force general, she is in another military branch, which she asked the AP not to disclose. The officer said the unwanted sexual contact, kissing and hugging began in early 2017 and recurred several times throughout that year when she was working closely with Hyten. She said she repeatedly pushed him away and told him to stop. In December 2017, when they were in southern California for the annual Reagan National Defense Forum, Hyten came into her room wearing workout clothes and hugged her tightly and rubbed up against her, according to the woman. She said she told him to leave. Hyten then asked the woman if she was going to report him. She said she told him no. The woman said she didn’t report the incidents at the time in order to avoid embarrassment, and out of fear of retaliation. She was also thinking about retiring, and believed Hyten was as well, so she concluded that he would not pose a risk to any other service members. She later learned that she was under investigation by Strategic Command for what officials said was “toxic” leadership behavior. That allegation surprised her, she says, because Hyten was familiar with her leadership style and “encouraged” it. He had given her glowing performance reviews, some of which were reviewed by the AP. “I was not the most popular officer in the command. In fact, one could say I was not popular at all,” she said. “But I was very successful in turning around an organization.” In her interview with the AP, she showed copies of performance reviews from Hyten in which she was ranked as the top officer out of 71 on his staff. Hyten wrote that she had “unlimited potential to lead and serve with distinction as a multi-star” general. “Exceptionally competent and committed leader with the highest level of character,” Hyten wrote, adding that “her ethics are above reproach.” The investigators issued her a letter of reprimand for her leadership and she was removed from her job at Strategic Command. She submitted her retirement. But military officials in her branch of service determined her retirement was coerced and they rejected it. They then moved her to another senior job in the Washington area.last_img read more

Maldives votes for change opposition candidate wins Presidential polls

Solih secured 58.3 percent of the votes while Yameen secured 41.7 percent of the votes.The Maldives media noted that throughout Sunday, Solih maintained a healthy lead but pulled well clear as Yameen lost key electorates despite significant pledges of development in the next five years. The Maldives voted for change as opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the Presidential elections beating incumbent President Abdulla Yaameen Abdul Gayoom.Yameen lost most of his key electorates to the joint opposition candidate at the election. “We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” said Solih. “I called on President Abdulla Yameen to respect the citizen’s vote and immediately work on smooth transfer of power, release all jailed leaders,” he said in a statement. The Elections Commission is expected to announce official preliminary results later Monday. (Colombo Gazette) Following the win Solih urged incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to ensure a smooth transfer of power and also urged him to free jailed political leaders jailed in the Maldives. read more