Army charges retired major general with rape against a minor in the 1980s

Army charges retired major general with rape against a minor in the 1980s

by Tom Vanden Brook
USA Today

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The Army on Friday announced rape charges against a retired general for multiple assaults against a minor dating to the 1980s.

Retired Maj. Gen. James Grazioplene is charged with six charges of rape of a minor between 1983 and 1989, the Army announced. The criminal investigation remains open, according to the Army.

Grazioplene, in a brief interview by phone, declined to comment and expressed surprise that the Army had announced the charges. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Grazioplene, an armor officer, retired in 2005. As retiree, he is still subject to military law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The military has been rocked in recent months by a series of sexual scandals involving top officers. Grazioplene’s is the most serious of the recent spate, which has involved top brass found carousing at strip bars, involved in extramarital affairs and involved in “swinging lifestyles.”

The charges against Grazioplene carry the potential for life in prison and loss of pension, said Don Christensen, president of Protect our Defenders, an advocacy organization for victims of sexual assault in the military.

Christensen, the former top Air Force prosecutor, said the next step is for Grazioplene to face an Article 32 hearing, which will determine if Grazioplene's case goes to court martial.

Grazioplene, who lives in Gainesville, Va., joined the Army in March 1972 as an armor officer. He was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., a Ranger and was decorated for his service.

There are no plans to call him back to active duty to face the charges.

There is no statute of limitations on rape, Christensen said. The Army's announcement referred to "six specifications of rape of a minor on multiple occasions." That could mean the alleged assaults involved different victims, locations, times or a combination of those factors.

“This is a highly unusual case," Christensen said. "But you never really lose jurisdiction over somebody who retires."


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