Senators outraged by dismissal of assault case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 05, 2013 4:32 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators are expressing outrage over an Air Force commander's decision to dismiss charges against a lieutenant colonel convicted of sexual assault.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri questioned the top officer at U.S. Central Command during a hearing Tuesday. Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire have sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about the case.

The Air Force Times reported last month that Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy, had been convicted on charges of abusive sexual contact and aggravated sexual assault. He was sentenced to a year in prison and dismissal from the service.

But Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin used his authority to dismiss the charges against Wilkerson, leading to his release.