WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force has stripped a retired general of two stars for having a sexual relationship with a lower ranking female officer several years ago, before he left the service.
Air Force Gen. Arthur Lichte retired in January 2010. But following an investigation into a complaint filed by a former subordinate, the Air Force has demoted him to major general. That will cut his monthly retirement pay by about $5,000, to roughly $13,000 a month.
The Air Force said Wednesday that Lichte engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with the woman. Because the misconduct occurred more than five years ago, he could not be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The Air Force, however, was able to take administrative action and issued a letter of reprimand.
The female officer initially filed a private, restricted complaint last July, seven years after the most recent incidents, which victims sometimes do to seek help or counseling. She changed it a month later to an unrestricted report, which automatically triggers an investigation.
According to the Air Force report on the investigation, which was heavily redacted, Lichte and the woman officer engaged in sexual conduct that the general said he believed was consensual. The woman officer told investigators that she felt she had no choice because of his rank and who he was.
The report said there were two incidents of inappropriate sexual behavior in 2007, when Lichte was a lieutenant general and serving as the assistant vice chief of staff in the Pentagon. It happened again with the same woman officer in 2009 when he was serving a commander of Air Mobility Command.
Former Air Force Secretary Deborah James reviewed the investigation and issued Lichte a letter of reprimand.
The matter was later referred to a three-member Officer Grade Determination Board, which decides at what rank an officer may retire based on when he or she last served satisfactorily.
The board concluded that major general was the last rank he served satisfactorily, and Acting Air Force Secretary Lisa Disbrow made the final decision this week to demote him by two ranks.
Lichte will not be required to pay back any of the additional retirement money he has already received.