AUSTIN, Texas — A retired lieutenant colonel was arraigned in a Fort Belvoir, Va., courtroom this month on a charge that he sexually assaulted a major in 2022 — using a rarely employed authority of the military legal system to prosecute officers in retirement.

Lt. Col. Adam Winograd, 47, pleaded not guilty to the charge that he had sex with the major without her consent in Manassas, Va., on Feb. 24, 2022, according to the charge sheet and online court records. The woman’s name is redacted from the charge sheet.

The case is unusual not only because of Winograd’s retirement status — he retired in December 2022 — but also because the Army had already attempted to charge him in the case. An evidentiary hearing determined the charge should not move to court-martial, said Winograd’s attorney Nathan Freeburg, who previously served in the Army as an attorney.

Officials at Fort Belvoir declined to comment on why the charge was filed again a year later.

The Office of Special Trial Counsel, which was established in December to handle certain charges including sexual assault, said it is not involved in Winograd’s prosecution. The office has the authority to reach back to older cases but it did not do so in this instance.

Col. Joseph Messina, Fort Belvoir garrison commander, sent the charges to court-martial late last year after holding a second evidentiary hearing. A jury trial is scheduled to begin July 22, according to the Army’s online court docket. A hearing is scheduled for May 30.

During the first evidentiary hearing known as an Article 32, the presiding officer found no probable cause and the original convening authority, Col. David Bowling, decided not to move forward. An Article 32 is similar to a grand jury hearing in civilian court where it is determined whether there is enough evidence to return an indictment. Instead of a panel of jurors, one officer is presented with evidence and writes a recommendation to the convening authority.

The recommendation then went to the Army Inspector General, whose office reviewed the situation and determined that the convening authority acted appropriately, said Freeburg, who is still awaiting a copy of the full report.

The Army declined to make the report available to Stars and Stripes without submitting a Freedom of Information Act request. That request is still pending.

Winograd was also arraigned last month on an assault charge that was not part of the original case against him, according to court records.

That charge alleged that he “unlawfully touch[ed]” his son’s neck with his arm Dec. 21, 2018, according to the charge sheet. The son’s name is redacted from the charge sheet.

The assault charge against Winograd, a single father who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan during his career, originally began in Prince William County as assault or battery of a family member, according to online court records. Winograd pleaded no contest, which means he accepted conviction without admitting guilt.

The charge of domestic violence was not added into the Uniform Code of Military Justice until 2019, so it is not available to use for this case.

Winograd’s son was 16 when the dispute between them occurred and they have since reconciled, Freeburg said. Now an adult, Winograd’s son serves in the Navy and wrote Messina to say he wants nothing to do with the proceedings.

“Nonetheless, they’ve moved ahead anyway,” Freeburg said.

The sexual assault charge was also first investigated by civilian authorities and declined prosecution, he said.

The military allows for the prosecution of retirees and does not require the person be returned to active duty. Winograd, who worked in the Chemical Corps and in Force Development since commissioning in 2002, will have the choice of wearing a military uniform or civilian suit to court.

The Army said it does not track how often retirees face court-martial, but Freeburg said he sees it about once every couple of years.

A retired major general faced court-martial in 2021 in which he pleaded guilty to charges of rape and incest. James J. Grazioplene was reduced in rank to second lieutenant.

A gavel rests on the judge’s bench in the courtroom of the 39th Air Base Wing legal office at Nov. 14, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

A gavel rests on the judge’s bench in the courtroom of the 39th Air Base Wing legal office at Nov. 14, 2019, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (Joshua Jospeh Magbanu/U.S. Air Force)

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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