Mideast edition, Tuesday, July 3, 2007

An Army command sergeant major in Iraq has been convicted of a range of offenses including relationships with subordinates, destroying evidence, possessing alcohol and pornography, and escaping from custody, U.S. military officials said Monday.

The litany of charges against Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Ramsdell resulted in a sentence of four months in prison and a six-rank demotion to specialist, or E-4.

Ramsdell was the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in the 411th Engineer Brigade, an Army Reserve unit headquartered in New Windsor, N.Y., that operates out of Balad, Iraq.

According to a news release, the charges Ramsdell was convicted of were: violating General Order No. 1 by possessing alcohol and pornography; engaging in inappropriate relationships with two junior noncommissioned officers in his unit; and “maltreating a soldier subject to his orders.”

All of those offenses allegedly took place in October 2006, officials said.

Another set of convictions were handed down for charges of: escaping from custody; impeding an investigation by hiding evidence; and wrongfully removing evidence. Those crimes took place about a week after the initial incidents came to light, officials said.

According to the release, “when discovered, Ramsdell attempted to hide evidence of his misconduct and later ran from CID agents while they were processing him.” The military described a “large quantity of alcohol and pornography in his quarters.”

The court-martial took place at the LSA Anaconda base in Iraq before a military judge.

According to the Central Connecticut State University Web site, Ramsdell was awarded the university’s leadership and distinguished academic record award in 2004. The biography with that award says Ramsdell graduated from the Army’s Sergeants Major Academy in July 2004 and earned an advanced degree in finance from CCSU’s business school. He was listed as a senior instructor in a military police school and a Desert Storm veteran.

The biography also says that Ramsdell was, in 2004, the vice president of a firm called Command Security Corp., in Lagrangeville, N.Y.

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