First Air Force general officer convicted in a military martial court in history

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Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, an Air Force general officer, was found guilty on one of three specifications of sexual assault connected to a 2018 incident in New Mexico. “During the short ride she said he told her that he fantasized about having sex with her. She alleged he pressed her up against the driver’s side window, forcibly kissed and groped her through her clothes,” was said presenting facts. The accused was found guilty only of forcibly kissing the woman. William T. Cooley became the first convicted Air Force General officer in the history. He pleaded not guilty to the abusive sexual contact charge for kissing the woman. Col. Christina Jimenez, who is presiding over the bench trial, is expected to sentence the former Air Force Research Laboratory commander on Monday.

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The woman and her husband, an Air Force civilian employee, as well as Cooley’s mother and several other family friends and expert witnesses testified in the trial. The prosecution said the woman felt Cooley’s attempts at apology for the incident were disingenuous. Cooley entered active duty service in 1990 and has worked in a variety of military space, missile defense, research and other positions. He managed a $2.5 billion Air Force-led science and technology portfolio plus another $2.3 billion in research funded outside the military. He oversaw a workforce of around 6,000 people. He was removed from that job in January 2020 as the Code of Military Justice forbids sexual assault. Cooley now serves as an assistant to Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold Bunch.