FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — A Fort Hood sergeant who was a coordinator of the post's sexual assault and harassment prevention program faces multiple charges after he was accused of setting up a prostitution ring involving cash-strapped female soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen was charged Friday with 21 counts related to pandering, conspiracy, maltreatment of a subordinate, abusive sexual contact, and adultery and conduct of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces, according to a Fort Hood statement.
An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian grand jury proceeding, is scheduled for March 20 and 21 at Fort Hood.
It was not clear if McQueen had an attorney Friday, Fort Hood spokesman Christopher Haug said. A home number for McQueen could not be found.
Last May, the Army said a sergeant first class was being investigated on allegations of sexual assault and possibly arranging for at least one woman to have sex for money. The Army said he was one of the coordinators of the program at Fort Hood, about 125 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Army officials declined to release his name at the time, but two officials speaking anonymously to The Associated Press because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case identified that soldier as McQueen, who was assigned as a coordinator of a battalion-level sexual assault prevention program at the Central Texas Army post.
U.S. officials had said he was being investigated in connection with activities involving three women, including sexually assaulting one woman. At the time, a Defense Department official in Washington said it was not clear if one of the women was forced into prostitution or participated willingly. McQueen remains suspended from his duties but is free pending trial, Haug said.
Another Fort Hood soldier was court-martialed in the case. Master Sgt. Brad Grimes was convicted in December of conspiring to patronize a prostitute and solicitation to commit adultery, reprimanded and demoted.
The Fort Hood case and others like it have increased pressure on the Pentagon and Capitol Hill to confront sexual misconduct in the armed forces.
The charges against McQueen came one day after the Senate rejected a bill that would have stripped military commanders of the authority to decide whether to prosecute serious crimes.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee. In a Feb. 10 letter, she called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to turn over case information from four major U.S. bases, including Fort Hood.
The records would shed more light on how military commanders make decisions about courts-martial and punishments in sexual assault cases.