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Army drops Sinclair's rank before retirement

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The Army is dropping the retirement benefits of a former Fort Bragg general who admitted to breaking military law during improper relationships with three subordinates.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced Friday that he has stripped Jeffery Sinclair, who currently holds the rank of Brigadier General, two grades. Sinclair will retire at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His retirement date will be late summer.

"While retirement benefits are mandated by federal law, there is a requirement that an individual must have served satisfactorily in rank before receiving those benefits," McHugh explained in a written release. "Sinclair displayed a pattern of inappropriate and at times illegal behavior both while serving as a Brigadier General and a Colonel. I therefore decided there was sufficient evidence and cause to deny him those benefits."

Sinclair was convicted at a court-martial in March after pleading guilty to criminal offenses including adultery, maltreatment of a subordinate, engaging in improper relationships, willful disobedience of an order, wrongful use of a government travel card, wrongful possession of pornography, and conduct unbecoming an officer. He was fined $20,000 and issued a reprimand.

McHugh noted in the release that he is prevented by federal law from taking further action and that he did what was "legally sustainable."

This is the first time the Army has reduced a retiring general officer by two ranks.

The Army did not force Sinclair to retire, according to Sinclair's defense team. He submitted his retirement papers several weeks ago, his defense team said.

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