Female sergeant testifies to seduction by Army's top noncom
DONALD M. ROTHBERG
Jun. 25, 1997
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A 25-year-old female Army sergeant described Wednesday how she was befriended by the Army's top enlisted man, a relationship she said culminated the night she went to his home and despite her reluctance had sexual intercourse.
After the encounter with Army Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney, Sgt. Christine N. Roy said, ``I wanted to hide, to crawl into bed and make it go away.
``I never forgot the fact that he was sergeant major of the Army,'' she said when asked if she was aware during the incident of his status as the Army's highest-ranking enlisted man.
The emotional testimony by the married mother of two occurred at an Army hearing on whether McKinney should face a court-martial on four women's accusations of sexual misconduct.
McKinney showed no emotion during Roy's testimony. His wife, Wilhemina, also was expressionless.
After the day's session, Charles Gittins, McKinney's lawyer, said, ``It didn't happen, I can tell you that.''
The lawyer said McKinney ``is very disappointed in Sergeant Roy. That would be the best face I can put on it.''
Cross-examination will occur on Thursday.
Roy said she was almost eight months pregnant when the incident occurred at his home.
``I trusted this man,'' she said. ``I looked up to this man.''
``After that night it was different,'' she said. ``He would call, and we would have little to say.''
She told the hearing how she met McKinney at a golf tournament at Fort Meade, Md., and how she was flattered when he suggested she might come to work for him.
As sergeant major of the Army, McKinney advises the service's chief of staff, Gen. Dennis Reimer, on all matters involving enlisted personnel. Their Pentagon offices are adjacent. Because of the allegations against him from Roy and three other female military personnel, McKinney is on administrative suspension.
Roy said McKinney started calling her at home, as many as 25 personal calls over the next several months.
``He was a great person, he always listened to everything I had to say,'' she said.
Roy said she didn't go to work for McKinney because she was pregnant.
The case against McKinney, being heard in a small, makeshift hearing room, is based on accusations by four women _ two other soldiers and a sailor. He is accused of sexual misconduct, indecent assault, adultery and obstruction of justice.
McKinney has denied all charges and contended they were racially motivated. He is black; his accusers are white.
In her testimony, the first of any of McKinney's accusers, Roy said she ``put it out of my mind'' for months after the incident and told no one about it.
She described sitting on a couch with McKinney.
``He started kissing me, touched my breast,'' she said. ``I pushed him back and told him I didn't want to do this.''
But she said McKinney persisted, exposing himself to her. They then had sex.
Later, she said McKinney ``told me he had never done anything like this before.''
She testified after the hearing officer, Col. Robert Jarvis, told prosecutors to turn over their wiretap evidence against McKinney. He also rejected McKinney's plea for a delay in the case.
Not until the closing moments of a morning session devoted to legal maneuvering did McKinney speak. Joining his lawyer in the appeal for a day's delay, he said: ``It is important that the soldiers know that their senior enlisted soldier is going to get a fair and impartial hearing.''
``I will endeavor to produce the fairest and most impartial determinations I can,'' Jarvis said. He said he wanted to make certain there was ``an honest, thorough and truthful'' investigation of the charges.
On the wiretap evidence, Jarvis said: ``I'm going to request from the government all items pertinent to the preferred charges.'' Details of the evidence gathered by the Army's criminal investigation division were not disclosed at the hearing.
It was held in a small narrow room in a building at Washington's Fort McNair customarily used as a mess hall. The temperature outside approached 100 degrees, and a window air conditioner groaned in a strained effort to keep the room comfortable.
After the hearing, Jarvis will recommend whether McKinney should face court-martial on the charges.
McKinney's accusers alleged that on several occasions between 1994 and 1996 he made explicit sexual proposals.
Charges filed by the Army said that in October 1996, McKinney committed ``an indecent assault'' on Roy, ``a person subject to his orders.''
Another accuser, a corporal, said that when she rejected his advances, McKinney told her, ``I'm a powerful man who makes things happen, good or bad.''
Until now, only one woman, retired Sgt. Maj. Brenda Hoster, has publicly spoken about her encounter with McKinney. She said that at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1995, he grabbed her and demanded sex.
Hoster said she went public with her allegations after learning that McKinney had been named to an Army panel investigating sexual harassment.
Wednesday's morning session was devoted to the delay request as well as challenges to the legitimacy of the proceeding.
``If we don't have a full, fair, complete hearing, what's the point?'' Gittins, McKinney's civilian lawyer, said in seeking the appeal.
He challenged the proceeding on several counts. He said the Army failed to provide relevant evidence and information on a possible new witness who was granted immunity from prosecution. He also challenged the authority of Col. Owen Powell, commander of Fort Myer in suburban Arlington, Va., to convene the hearing.
After Jarvis rejected the pleas, Gittins took his complaints to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.