Air Force General Fights Back Against Sex Charges, Calls Accuser a Liar

The Air Force general stripped of two ranks and docked $60,000 in pension for forcing a subordinate to have sex sought to brand his accuser a liar bent on enriching herself, Air Force records show.

General Arthur Lichte, who had been a four-star officer in charge of Air Force Mobility Command, was demoted in retirement to major general Feb. 1 following an investigation that found he had coerced a subordinate officer into sex on three separate occasions.

The woman’s account of their relationship was “false,” Lichte wrote in his response to the Air Force’s investigation. His lawyer, in supporting documents, called Lichte the “victim” of a woman who sought to cash in on disability payments for sexual trauma from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He also blasted the Air Force for not having a sworn statement from the woman to back her claims.

In the end, Air Force officials tossed aside Lichte’s defense. Then-Air Force Secretary Deborah James fired off a caustic letter of reprimand in December, calling his conduct “disgraceful” and but for the statute of limitations, worth prosecuting as a sex crime.

His punishment: the reprimand, loss of two stars and a cut in pension from about $216,000 per year to $156,000.

Lichte thus joined the ranks of the disgraced military brass, including Army Brig. Gen. Ronald Lewis, who a little more than a year ago had been a three-star general and the top military adviser to the secretary of Defense. Last week, Lewis too, was reprimanded and demoted to one star after the Army accepted the findings of an inspector general report that found he had frequented sex clubs on business trips, drank to excess and had cavorted inappropriately with female subordinates.

Lichte defended himself by questioning the credibility of the woman, an active-duty colonel, whose name has not been released. The documents also show Lichte and his lawyer questioned her motives for bringing charges almost a decade after the sexual encounters.

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SOURCE: Tom Vanden Brook