Air Force Investigating Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Ranging From 2007 to 2009
Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/21/2016 --The Air Force recently announced the investigation of sexual assault allegations against General Arthur J. Lichte, a retired four-star general who formerly led the Air Mobility Command. An Air Force spokesman has declined to supply any further information on the allegations or investigation at this time. Lichte has also declined to comment on the allegations against him.
John Q. Public (jqpublicblog.com), a private blog run by retired Air Force lieutenant Tony Carr that reports on United States Air Force news, initially broke the story of allegations against Lichte in late August. The blog revealed details of an internal Air Force memo that outlined the complaint of a female colonel against her commanding officer. This colonel alleged that her commander, now identified as Lichte, abused his power and rank to coerce or force "sexual contact" with her on three occasions between April 2007 and April 2009.
General Lichte is originally from New York City and joined the US Air Force in 1971, rising quickly through the ranks to eventually become a Command Pilot and Four-Star General. He retired on January 1st, 2010 after just over 38 years of service. Although the General is retired, he could still face penalties, pending the outcome of the investigation. Because of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in 2014, there is no longer a statute of limitations for sexual related offenses, and if the charges against Lichte are pursued, the incident has the potential to become the biggest sexual assault case against a general in United States military history.
In addition to any military repercussions Lichte may face, he could be ousted as a board member of Airbus, a position he's held for more than 6 years. As of now, Airbus won't comment other than to say that "As a policy, we don't publicly speculate on hypothetical situations".
Civilian military law attorney Patrick J. McLain, who has seen his fair share of political witch hunts in his years defending military personnel, commented, "The unusually zealous effort to bring a retired four-star general back on active duty in order to face criminal charges is especially peculiar, most notably because generals of this ranking are typically afforded the privilege of immunity from prosecution. The intensity and depth with which military prosecutors are pursuing the retired general for sex crime allegations reveals how far they are willing to go to prosecute an increasingly higher number of sex crimes. The unbalanced and unreasonable campaign is now targeting one of the most highly ranked of military officers, and he needs to heed the advice he has given his subordinates for so long: invoke your right to remain silent, and seek the counsel of a defense lawyer."
The allegations against Lichte come at a time when criticism of the Pentagon's handling of sexual assault cases is at an all-time high. A May 2016 report from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D.-N.Y.) alleged that the military's legal system is flawed in its approach to the investigation and prosecution of officers and enlistees accused of sexual assault, citing a 22 percent prosecution rate in the representative cases reviewed in the report. A Pentagon report released the same month revealed that there were 6,083 reported allegations of sexual assault in the previous year, representing a small decrease of one percent compared to the prior year.
About Patrick J. McLain, Judge Advocate and Attorney at Law
Military Attorney Patrick McLain has been diligently serving all five branches of the United States Armed Forces for almost 30 years. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1990, and went on to grow a successful law firm specializing in military law and criminal defense. In addition to serving as an adjunct instructor at various universities and naval schools across the country, he has received numerous honors and awards for both his civilian and military law achievements.