Army drops more charges in Simpson case; rape remains
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (AP) _ The Army on Tuesday dropped robbery and extortion charges and two of 21 rape counts against a former drill instructor.
Staff Sgt. Delmar Simpson still faces 58 counts of criminal activity, including rape, forcible sodomy, assault and maltreatment of a subordinate.
His court-martial is expected to begin Friday. Panel selection began Tuesday after the charges were dropped.
The Army has been dropping charges against Simpson since a pre-trial hearing began March 31. He originally faced 148 counts of criminal activity.
``They’re getting rid of those extraneous issues and focusing the case on what’s at issue,″ said Paul A. Marone, a special assistant U.S. attorney.
Simpson, 32, is now charged with 19 counts of rape involving six female trainees in the most serious case arising from the sex scandal at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a weapons testing and training post 30 miles northeast of Baltimore.
The investigation at Aberdeen has led to criminal charges against 11 staff members there and an investigation of sexual harassment at U.S. military bases worldwide.