The former commander of the overall Air Force Research Laboratory operation, which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and of which Rome Labs is a part will face a court martial for sexual abuse accusations.
Air Force Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, who served as head of the AFRL operation for nearly three years, will be the first general-ranked officer in the history of the Air Force to be court-martialed, according to reports.
Air Force Materiel Command announced on Wednesday that Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. has referred one charge under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, including three specifications of sexual assault under Article 120.
Cooley is accused of making unwanted sexual advances by kissing and touching a woman while off-duty in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Aug. 12, 2018, officials said.
The woman was not a military member of Defense Department employee. “After a comprehensive review of all of the evidence from the investigation and the Article 32 preliminary hearing, I’ve informed Maj. Gen. Cooley of my decision to move his case to general court-martial,” Bunch said in a release.
“I can assure you this was not a decision made lightly, but I believe it was the right decision.”
Cooley was terminated from his position at Wright-Patterson on Jan. 15, 2020. At the time, Bunch said it was due to a lack of confidence as part of an ongoing investigation.
Cooley was then assigned to serve as Bunch’s special assistant while the case proceeded.
On Feb. 8, 2021, the case was reviewed at a hearing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and a senior military judge recommended the case for court martial.
The Air Force trial judiciary will now identify a senior military judge and coordinate a time and location for the court martial.
Jurors, or court members, must either be officers or higher rank.