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    Major General Convicted of Forcible Kissing to Retire as Colonel

    Major General Convicted of Forcible Kissing to Retire as Colonel

    An two-star general who was convicted of abusive sexual contact in a court-martial last year will retire as a colonel, in a rare instance of knocking an officer down two ranks, the service announced Tuesday.

    Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall chose to demote William Cooley, who was previously the head of the Air Force Research Laboratory, following the officer's conviction on forcibly kissing his sister-in-law, according to a statement from Air Force Materiel Command. Cooley's retirement will be effective Thursday.

    “The Department of the Air Force expects its leaders to embody our core values, and holds them accountable if they fall short of expectations,” the command said in the statement.

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    Cooley, who was accused of sexually assaulting his sister-in-law after a family barbecue in 2018, was the first Air Force general ever to face a trial. The case was seen as a sign of a slow but sure shift away from a military culture that allowed high-ranking officers to act with impunity.

    Cooley was charged with three counts of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In the April 2022 court-martial, he was convicted on only one count of abusive sexual contact related to the accusation that he forcibly kissed his sister-in-law. The two counts he was found not guilty of related to allegations that he also groped her.

     

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