Philandering general shamed
By Hugo Gurdon in Washington
A TWO-star American general committed adultery or improper conduct with four officers' wives while in command of a Nato base in Turkey.

Maj Gen David Hale, who retired early last year but denies wrongdoing, "engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behaviour", said an internal report issued by the Pentagon.

But it did not back the accusation of a colonel's wife, Donnamaria Carpino, who said he made her perform a sexual act by telling her that her husband would be prosecuted for adultery if she did not. Having court-martialled several NCOs for rape and other sexual offences, the Pentagon is under political pressure not to let off any top brass in a similar position.

Adultery, consensual or not, is illegal in the US military. The Defence Department's inspector general, Eleanor Hill, concluded that Maj Gen Hale committed adultery with Mrs Carpino and had improper relations with three other wives.

An inquiry is under way to find out if the army Chief of Staff, Gen Dennis Reimer, improperly allowed Maj Gen Hale to retire honourably. The US Army has never court-martialled a retired general, but is now conducting a criminal investigation.

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