US Army Investigates Europe Soldier
HEIDELBERG, Germany (AP) _ The U.S. Army appointed an investigator today to examine sex charges against its highest-ranking enlisted soldier in Europe, the 5th Corps announced.
Command Sgt. Maj. Riley C. Miller was charged last week with sodomy, kidnapping, assault and mistreating a subordinate. His commander, Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, suspended Miller from his duties last month and reassigned him.
The investigator, who was not identified in keeping with Army practice, will conduct hearings and make a recommendation on whether to hold a court martial, deal with the case administratively or drop it.
The allegations were made by a female soldier at the U.S. military community in Hanau, just outside Frankfurt, said 5th Corps spokeswoman Hilde Patton. The alleged misconduct happened in mid-April, an Army statement said.
Miller, who represents the interests of all enlisted Army soldiers in Europe, has been the senior sergeant major for U.S. Army Europe for three years.
He is a highly decorated infantry soldier and Vietnam veteran who has served in the Army for more than 30 years.
Patton said she could not predict how long the investigator would take to review the allegations.
``I’ve seen it take two to three weeks, I’ve seen it take two months,″ she said.
Defense lawyers have refused requests for interviews, Patton said. She had no information on Miller’s response to the charges.
The probe follows several other high-profile cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct in the Army in recent years. The Pentagon has tightened guidelines to prevent fraternization between male and female soldiers.
Outside U.S. Army Europe headquarters in Heidelberg, Army Capt. Cleveland Murphy said military officials were setting a positive example by investigating a high-ranking soldier like Miller.
``We want to give the man a fair shake,″ he said. ``If it’s not true, we don’t want to slander him. If it is true, the Army is going to go through its course and do the right thing.″
Last year, Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney, then the highest-ranking enlisted soldier for the entire Army, was acquitted of 18 counts alleging sexual harassment of six military women. But he was convicted of obstruction of justice, demoted and reprimanded.
Last month, the U.S. Army took the highly unusual step of demoting a retired general, David Hale, who admitted during a court-martial last spring that he had adulterous affairs with the wives of four subordinates.