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Suspended Army War College commandant faces sexual assault investigation

By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — The commandant of the Army War College was suspended last week over allegations of sexual assault, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command is investigating an allegation of “inappropriate touching” by Maj. Gen. Stephen Maranian, who was suspended Feb. 9 from his duties as War College commandant, said Cynthia Smith, an Army spokeswoman. The Army announced last week that Maranian had been suspended pending an investigation but declined at that time to disclose the allegations against him or what entity was investigating them.

Smith and a CID spokesman declined Thursday to provide further information about the allegations, including when or where they might have occurred. Smith said they were unrelated to Maranian's duties as War College commandant, a job he started in July.

“No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the investigative process,” Smith said in a statement issued Thursday. “These are allegations at this time and Maranian is presumed innocent until and if proven otherwise.”

Maranian was temporarily replaced as the school’s commandant by Army Maj. Gen. David C. Hill, who had been serving as the deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The sexual assault allegations were first reported Thursday by Task & Purpose, which reported a protective order was issued Feb. 9 against Maranian citing the CID investigation of an “abusive sexual contact.”

A defense official confirmed Thursday that the misconduct allegations against Maranian were “sexual in nature.” The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The military has pledged to stamp out its decades-old problem with sexual misconduct within its ranks. An outside investigation of problems at Fort Hood, Texas, launched after the April 2020 on-post killing of Spc. Vanessa Guillen found a command climate and culture that was permissive of sexual assault and harassment as a result of poor leadership.

Since the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee released its findings in November, Army officials have said they believed such problems existed across many of its installations and have vowed to do all they can to improve.

Maranian became the War College’s 52nd commandant in July, after leaving Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he had served as the Army Combined Arms Center’s deputy commanding general for education. He commissioned into the Army in 1988 as a field artillery officer and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to his official biography.

The War College in Carlisle, Pa., trains lieutenant colonels and colonels to lead at the military’s highest levels, granting graduates master's degrees in strategic studies.

dickstein.corey@stripes.com
Twitter: @CDickteinDC