An Army sergeant at Fort Hood in Texas who was tasked with helping prevent sexual assault now faces potential court-martial for sexual abuse, adultery and other criminal charges.
The 21 initial charges filed Friday by the Army against Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen are related to pandering, conspiracy, maltreatment of a subordinate, abusive sexual contact, adultery and detrimental conduct, the Texas base said in a statement.
Army investigators started looking into McQueen, 38, last May after allegations surfaced that he had turned a few cash-strapped female soldiers into prostitutes who he then offered to higher-ranking members. At the time, the Army didn’t name McQueen, but officials said the sergeant under investigation had been suspended of his duties.
The Fort Hood investigation is one of several sexual assault scandals in the armed forces as the Pentagon and Congress tussle over how to stop the harassment and abuse.
On Thursday, the Senate voted down a measure that would have given military prosecutors the power to decide whether to bring charges, instead of military commanders. The Defense Department reported last year that only about 1 in 10 sexual assaults is reported to commanders, and many supporters of the bill argued that more troops would come forward if they could report issues to someone outside their chain of command.
The bill’s rejection came the same day that the Army suspended a sex-crimes prosecutor who had been accused of sexual assault. The Army said it was investigating Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, who oversaw nearly two dozen prosecutors specializing in sexual assault and other sensitive cases at Fort Belvoir, Va.
On Friday, an Army captain testified that Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex in her office in Afghanistan. Sinclair, one of the few generals to have faced a court-martial in the last half-century, is charged with several sex-related charges as well as abusing his government credit card in pursuit of trysts with the captain. He faces life in prison if convicted on all charges.
In the latest case, McQueen was an equal opportunity advisor and sexual harassment/assault response and prevention program coordinator for one of Fort Hood’s battalions. The unit’s mission statement notes that it trains and educates soldiers about sexual assault, helps victims and demands that perpetrators be held accountable.
McQueen had held the rank of sergeant first class for less than a year before he was suspended.
Efforts to reach McQueen were unsuccessful. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 20-21, when an investigator will decide whether to move McQueen’s case to a court-martial hearing.