Retired general faces rape charges in Virginia following dismissal of Army case
By DAN LAMOTHE | The Washington Post | Published: December 10, 2018
A retired Army general has been indicted on charges of rape in Virginia, seven months after a judge dismissed related charges in the military justice system because the statute of limitations in that case had changed.
James J. Grazioplene, 69, of Gainesville, Virginia, faces multiple counts in Prince William Circuit Court, according to court records. He is due in court this week and had not entered a plea as of Monday morning. A lawyer for Grazioplene, Thomas Pavlinic of Annapolis, Maryland, acknowledged a forthcoming court appearance in a phone call, but otherwise declined to comment.
It is the latest chapter in legal troubles for the retired two-star officer, who was charged by the Army last year with rape following an Army investigation dating back to early 2015.
In that case, authorities accused Grazioplene of numerous instances of raping a minor between 1983 and 1989, a span in which he lived for a time in Prince William County. He also lived at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and in Germany during that time frame.
Military officials prepared to court-martial Grazioplene this year rather than passing on the decades-old case. The U.S. military has prosecuted a general on felony charges just a handful of times in modern times.
Army officials heard evidence against Grazioplene during an Article 32 hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, in August 2017 in which the general's accuser described years of abuse at his hands. Grazioplene's attorney, Pavlinic, questioned whether the accuser had fabricated memories due to years of therapy, but the Army decided there was sufficient evidence to pursue a court-martial.
The case fell apart after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces earlier this year found in another case, U.S. v. Mangahas, that there should be a five-year statute of limitations on rape charges. In that case, a rape charge against an Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Edzel D. Mangahas, was dismissed. His accuser said he had raped her while they were both cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, in 1997.
The decision by the appeals court, considered one step down from the U.S. Supreme Court in military cases, led the Army to dismiss its case against Grazioplene in March.
Virginia, however, has no statute of limitations on rape charges and can pursue a case separately.
The Army also could punish Grazioplene administratively, with options including demotion in retirement and a formal written reprimand.
Brig Gen. Omar Jones, the Army's chief of public affairs, declined to comment on Grazioplene's case on Monday, saying it would be inappropriate for the service to do so while there is pending legal action.
Grazioplene joined the Army as an armor officer in 1972 after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and served in Iraq during a 33-year career. His last position was at the Pentagon as the director of force development for the Joint Warfighting Capabilities Assessment, which provides information to the Pentagon's top officer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.