Sergeant's hearing recessed, fifth accuser to testify
DONALD M. ROTHBERG
Jul. 30, 1997
WASHINGTON (AP) _ An Army colonel given the task of recommending whether the service's top enlisted man should be charged with sexual misconduct has volumes of conflicting testimony to consider. And more is coming.
Hearings recessed Wednesday until Aug. 11, when testimony is scheduled from a fifth woman who alleged that Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gene McKinney made improper advances.
Four accusers have already testified and been cross-examined by McKinney's attorneys.
After all the testimony is in, Col. Robert Jarvis, the presiding officer, will recommend whether McKinney should be court-martialed on sexual-misconduct charges.
Witnesses supportive of McKinney testified the past three days and disputed elements of the stories told by the women.
Just before the recess, retired Sgt. Maj. Michael Levine told the Fort McNair hearing that Brenda Hoster never told him McKinney had made improper advances to her during an April 1996 trip to Hawaii.
Hoster was a sergeant major on McKinney's staff, serving as his public-affairs adviser. She alleged that on the Hawaii trip he came to her hotel room, grabbed her, kissed her, and asked her to have sex with him.
She refused and he left the room.
McKinney has denied the allegations by Hoster and the other accusers.
During her testimony, Hoster said she told several people what had happened in Hawaii. Defense witnesses _ a colonel and two sergeants _ said she never mentioned that McKinney had kissed or touched her.
Hoster also has described McKinney as an abusive boss who regularly berated his staff in front of others.
Levine, who was staff coordinator for McKinney, said the office atmosphere was stressful and that Hoster ``couldn't handle it.''
``Everything that happened, she would whine about it,'' Levine said.
Levine also said another of the accusers lied when she said she decided against taking a job in McKinney's office.
He said McKinney decided not to offer Sgt. Christine Roy the job after she told him she was pregnant because he felt the amount of travel required would be disruptive to her family.
Levine said he was the one who called Roy to tell her she would not get the job and that ``she was asking for the job right up until the time I hung up.''