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Tuesday
May212013

Army General Suspended of Command for Adultery Investigation

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Army has suspended the one-star commanding general at Fort Jackson, S.C., for alleged misconduct involving adultery and an unspecified physical altercation.

An Army official tells ABC News that the case does not involve sexual assault.

Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts was suspended Tuesday as Commanding General, U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, according to a  statement from Army Training and Doctrine Command. The post, located in Columbia, S.C., is the largest of the five facilities the Army uses for basic training of new soldiers.

Roberts was suspended by the Commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Gen. Robert W. Cone, due to allegations of misconduct that "include adultery and a physical altercation,” which the statement said “are being thoroughly investigated.”  Adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“The information at this time does not indicate this is a matter of sexual assault,” an Army official told ABC News.

No details were provided about the alleged physical altercation for which Roberts is being investigated.

Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs will serve as the interim commander pending the results of the investigation.  Coombs was previously the commandant of the Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the case and had gathered enough preliminary evidence for Cone to suspend Roberts from his command, Army Training and Doctrine Command spokesman Harvey Perritt said.

“[The] Army holds all soldiers regardless of rank or position accountable for their actions,” Perritt said.

Investigators are questioning witnesses and gathering evidence in the case, which could last several weeks or months, he said.

Roberts has been suspended from command pending the results of the investigation; he could be relieved of command of the post depending on what the investigation concludes.  Roberts has been in command of the post since April 2012.

Another Army one-star general is currently on trial for adultery at Fort Bragg, N.C.  Last year Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was serving in Afghanistan as a deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division when he was accused of engaging in adultery and sexual assault.  Sinclair faces life in prison if convicted on the sexual assault charge.

Over the past two weeks, sexual assault in the military became a hot-button issue in Washington after two sexual assault prevention officers found themselves involved in incidents of sexual assault.

Two weeks ago the Air Force lieutenant colonel who ran the Air Force’s office of sexual assault and prevention was arrested for allegedly groping a woman, and last week an Army sergeant who served as a sexual assault prevention coordinator at Fort Hood, Texas, was removed from his post while he was investigated for alleged sexual assault.

The incidents led Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to order the retraining and rescreening of the 45,000 sexual assault prevention officers and military recruiters.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio