Summary: An Army commander was engaging in racy messages with the wife of a soldier, resulting in an investigation and his suspension.
A two-star Commander in the United States Army has been suspended after texts were uncovered between him and an enlisted soldier’s wife. USA TODAY first obtained the racy text messages, which were suggestive enough for an inspector general to launch an investigation into the commander of forces in Africa.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington is based in Italy where the U.S. Army Africa is posted. His activities are now under question. Army Col. Pat Seiber said, “Harrington has been suspended from his duties as the Commander of United States Army Africa’s Southern European Task Force pending the completion of an investigation by the Army’s inspector general. Given that the matter is under investigation, we can provide no further comment at this time.”
Harrington said through a spokesman, “I look forward to the completion of the investigation.” The soldier involved in not under Harrington’s command but they did serve together in Europe, according to his spokesman Lt. Col. Armando Hernandez.
The Pentagon has said they were going to root out sexual assault and harassment in the military but little has been done. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, “This is unfortunately just another example of an utter lack of good order and discipline from a top general who is supposed to be in charge of stemming the tide of this boorish behavior in the first place. For over 20 years, top brass has been pledging zero tolerance for this type of inappropriate behavior – yet on an all too often basis we see these are empty promises.”
A former top prosecutor for the Air Force and president of Protect our Defenders, Don Christensen said, “It’s disturbing that it took a report in USA TODAY for the Army to suspend Harrington. I hope now that the Army knows it’s being watched they will do a thorough and complete investigation of the general.”
The woman turned over flirty Facebook messages sent by Harrinton to her, calling her a “HOTTIE” and asking about where her husband was. He would then direct her to delete the messages. She claims their relationship started as a friendship and strictly business but eventually crossed into a personal, intimate relationship.
One exchange, “I knew u were worth worshipping,” indicates he was fairly infatuated with the younger woman. In another instance where she commented on the cold weather in Italy, he replied, “I heard but you know how to raise the temp!”
This is not the first higher ranking Army Commander that has gotten in trouble recently for inappropriate behavior. Just a few months ago, a division commander was stripped of his one star by the Army. He was forced to retire after getting caught having an inappropriate relationship with a female captain on his staff.
The Navy has also had their share of misconduct. A scandal out of Asia involving former chief of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, commonly referred to as contractor “Fat Leonard” Francis has rocked headlines. Francis apparently bribed sailors with prostitutes, fancy dinners, and cash for information to be used to gouge the Navy to service their ships.
Do you think an affair should get a military officer in trouble? Tell us in the comments below.
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