US general handling air force sex scandal to retire

Washington, July 3 (IANS) A US general handling the air force’s worst sexual scandal has said he will soon retire.

Gen. Edward Rice Jr., head of the San Antonio-based Air Education and Training Command, said he would leave the military “in several months” but did not mention the scandal. It’s not known if his retirement has anything to do with the controversy, reported Xinhua.

Rice was reported to have uncovered the scandal that implicated 33 basic training instructors at the San Antonio-Lackland joint base for alleged misconduct with 67 recruits and technical school students two years ago.

This triggered widespread media coverage of sexual assaults in the services, a congressional investigation and calls for a make-over in the military justice system.

Other incidents put the spotlight on the issue, including the arrest of a sexual assault prevention officer accused of groping a woman in Virginia.

While many shied away from speaking about the scandal, Rice talked about it on several occasions.

Asked about the impact of a series of highly publicized trials in previous interviews, Rice said he didn’t fear that they would tarnish the air force’s image.

“As far as I’m concerned, we will turn over every rock and are not afraid of what we might find because we believe it is absolutely important and critical for the integrity of the institution that we do the absolute best job we can of understanding the extent of what happened and ensuring that we protect any victims,” he said.

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