Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley made grim history when he was convicted of abusive sexual contact in the first-ever military trial of an Air Force general.
Cooley faced a three-spec indictment, one alleging a violent kiss and two violent touches in 2018. The victim was his brother’s wife.
He was convicted Saturday of the violent kissing but was acquitted by the other two after the week-long court-martial at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
The major general faces up to seven years in prison, a dishonorable discharge and the loss of his salary and social benefits if he is convicted on Monday.
Who is William T Cooley?
Cooley enlisted in the Air Force through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in 1988 and entered active duty in 1990, according to his biography on the Air Force website.
He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Mexico and a PhD in engineering physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Cooley became commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2017, a role in which he was responsible for managing a $2.5 billion science and technology program and an additional $2.3 billion in externally funded research and development, according to the Air Force .
But he was relieved of command in January 2020 by Air Force Material Command (AFMC) commander Arnold W. Bunch, Jr. for “losing confidence in his ability to lead” amid sexual assault allegations against him were being investigated by the Office of Special Investigations, according to a press release.
He has since served as Bunch’s special assistant, and his responsibilities primarily focus on advancing AFMC’s digital campaign. His honors include a Defense Superior Service Medal, a Bronze Star Medal, and a Legion of Merit.
“As the drafting authority, I want to say thank you,” Bunch said in a statement following the conclusion of the trial. “I thank everyone who assisted in this trial for their diligence in seeking justice and for doing everything possible to protect both the victim’s rights and the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”
The victim, Cooley’s brother’s wife, told the court that Cooley asked for a ride after drinking at a barbecue in New Mexico in 2018.
During the drive, she said he told her he dreamed of having sex with her. She claimed he held her against the driver’s side window of the car, kissed her forcefully, and then groped her through her clothing.
The woman gave media reports permission to disclose her relationship with Cooley so the public fully understands the case, her attorney, Ryan Guilds, said The guard.
She was prosecuting a case because her daughters “deserve a world, deserve a system, military or otherwise, where they never have to be complicit in a lie, to protect a power structure, to protect a predator,” she said in one Explanation.
news week has reached out to Guilds and Cooley’s attorney for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/william-cooley-air-force-major-general-center-historic-trial-1700373 Who is William Cooley? Major General of the Luftwaffe at the Center for Historical Trials