Court-martial date set for former AFRL commander


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The court-martial date for the former commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been set for early next year. Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley will be court-martialed at Wright-Patterson on Jan. 10, 2022 for alleged sexual assault, according to the JAG Corps Air Force Docket.

The trial is scheduled for 12 days, according to the docket, and Col. Mark Milam will preside over the case.

Cooley is accused of kissing and groping a civilian woman during an off-duty incident on Aug. 12, 2018. He faces one charge of sexual assault, with three specifications under Article 120, which concerns abusive sexual contact, of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

According to the docket, prosecutors in this case are Capt. John Lipscomb, Lt. Col. Matthew Neil, Maj. Abbigayle Hunter, and Maj Megan Ortner. Military Defense Counsel is Capt. Matthew Snell.

Gen. Arnold. W. Bunch Jr., Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) commander, relieved Cooley of his AFRL command on Jan. 15, 2020, nearly two years prior to his court-martial date, after an investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Cooley has since served as special assistant to Bunch, with duties focused primarily on advancing the command’s digital campaign.

The case is historic, as Cooley is the first Air Force general to face a court-martial.

During Cooley’s Article 32 hearing held in February, Cooley’s lawyers alleged that his accuser is part of a “conspiracy” to end his career, while prosecutors argued that Cooley had been untruthful with the investigation and had sexually assaulted a female victim.

A court-martial is equivalent to a civilian jury trial. Jurors in a court-martial must either be officers of higher rank, or equivalent grade but with an earlier date of rank to the accused. As Cooley is a two-star general, his jurors will be generals of equal or greater rank themselves.

By London Bishop

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Reach London Bishop or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.

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