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Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts (Army)
The Army announced it has suspended the commander of Fort Jackson, S.C., amid misconduct allegations that include adultery and a physical altercation, according to a spokesman for Training and Doctrine Command.
Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts was suspended today as commander of the Army Training Center and Fort Jackson by TRADOC commander Gen. Robert W. Cone, based on a preliminary investigation by Army Criminal Investigation Command. The investigation pointed to a breach of good order and discipline, “which was contrary to Army values and could not be condoned,” said spokesman Harvey Perritt.
Perritt said he could not provide details of the investigation in order to protect the privacy of those involved and the investigation itself, which is expected to span several weeks to several months.
“Regardless of rank or position, soldiers will be held accountable for their actions,” Perritt told Army Times. “We have to assume Brig. Gen. Roberts is innocent until proven otherwise.”
Roberts posted an anti-sexual assault and harassment message to Fort Jackson on the Army’s website, which has since been removed: “Team Jackson, let me be clear, the Army has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual assault, and so do I.
“I view sexual harassment and assault as an enemy threat, and just as we do with other threats, the Army is placing a continued emphasis toward eliminating it,” Roberts said in the message. “All of us have a shared role in ridding our ranks of this cancerous conduct.”
Roberts of Hampton, Va., took command of Fort Jackson in 2011. He previously served as director of the Iraq Training and Advisory Team in Iraq, the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky., commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq from 2006 to 2008 and on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon.
Roberts is married with three children, according to an undated Army biography from his position at USAREC.
While the investigation is ongoing, Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, commandant of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., will serve as the interim commander until the investigation is complete and the issue resolved, Perritt said.
Roberts is not the first high ranking Army official to face allegations of extramarital activity.
Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, the former deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, is facing a court martial, over multiple sexual misconduct charges involving several women, the most serious of which is alleged forcible sodomy against a female subordinate with whom he was having an affair. Preliminary hearings in the case are ongoing.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus, a former four-star Army general and top commander in Afghanistan, resigned as spy chief last November after the FBI uncovered evidence that he was having an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus has acknowledged the affair.
James H. Johnson III, the former commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was convicted of fraud and bigamy last June and left the Army after being reduced in rank to lieutenant colonel and paying a $300,000 fine. Johnson, who misused government funds to visit his Iraqi mistress, has since divorced his wife.
Johnson’s wife, Kristina Johnson, has since launched a lobbying effort calling for expanded financial protections for the spouses of lawbreaking service members, saying her husband was given a light sentence to protect her.
Kevin P. Byrnes, a former four-star head of Training and Doctrine Command, was relieved of command in 2005, for disobeying a lawful order from the Army chief in connection with his extramarital, concensual relationship with a female civilian. Byrnes was soon to retire after 36 years of service.