Army Closes Sexual Misconduct Evidence Hearing to Public

A preliminary hearing that will determine whether there is enough evidence of sexual misconduct to court-martial Sgt. Major of the Army Gene C. McKinney will be closed to the public. The Army decided that the hearing regarding its top enlisted man would be closed to the public despite appeals from the defendant and his main accuser that the proceeding remain open. Brenda Hoster, whose allegations sparked 18 criminal charges against McKinney including adultery and indecent assault, claims that the Army is trying to avoid bad publicity. McKinney is charged with propositioning three female officers and committing adultery with another.

After the preliminary hearing to be held on June 23 at Fort Meyer, Col. Owen C. Powell will weigh the evidence and determine whether to proceed with a trial, alter the charges against McKinney, or dismiss the case. McKinney has requested permission to retire but has received no official response from the Army. Army Secretary Togo West and Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis J. Reimer support Powell’s decision to close the hearing, but McKinney and five major television networks have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to open the hearing, asking that the proceeding be delayed pending a hearing and decision.


The Washington Post - June 20, 1997

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