Air Force general sentenced

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  • Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

A military judge sentenced Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, former commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, to a reprimand and forfeiture of $10,910 per month for five months Tuesday, for forcibly kissing a civilian woman.

Cooley was sentenced by Col. Christina M. Jimenez, the senior military judge in the case. Jimenez is the Chief Circuit Military Judge, Air Force Trial Judiciary, Western Circuit, stationed at Travis Air Force Base, California.

The sentence comes three days after Cooley was found guilty of one specification of the charge of abusive sexual contact for forcibly kissing the victim in a car after a barbeque in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 12, 2018.

His general court-martial was held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. It began on April 18, 2022. He requested trial by military judge alone rather than a panel of officers, commonly referred to as a jury. He was accused of one charge, with three specifications, under Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was found guilty of the specification alleging abusive sexual contact under Article 120, UCMJ; specifically, kissing the victim without her consent with an intent to gratify his sexual desire. For the two other specifications, involving alleged inappropriate touching, Jimenez found Cooley not guilty.

The sentencing phase in the military justice system immediately follows the findings portion of trial when guilt is determined. 

Cooley faced a maximum punishment of dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for seven years.

Both Government and Defense presented evidence during the sentencing session. 

Government lead trial counsel, Lt. Col. Matthew Neil, presented an unsworn statement of the impact the assault had on the victim and her family and then rested the government’s sentencing case.

“If this result influenced just one survivor to know that his or her attacker’s rank or status would not prevent them from being held accountable, that is a win for the United States and the military justice system,” said Neil after the sentence was delivered.

The Defense did not call any witnesses, but also provided an unsworn statement by Cooley during the sentencing proceedings.

Like all Airmen convicted at a Court-Martial, Cooley will receive an automatic review on appeal.