A senior military officer has accused the Air Force general tapped to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of sexual misconduct, potentially jeopardizing his nomination. Members of Congress have raised questions about the allegations and the military investigation that found insufficient evidence to charge him. The officer told the AP that Gen. John Hyten subjected her to a series of unwanted sexual advances by kissing, hugging, and rubbing up against her in 2017 while she was one of his aides. She said that he tried to derail her military career after she rebuffed him. The Air Force investigated the woman’s allegations, which she reported days after Hyten’s nomination was announced in April, and found there was insufficient evidence to charge the general or recommend any administrative punishment.
Nor did investigators find evidence the accuser was lying. The alleged victim remains in the military but has moved to a different job. “My life was ruined by this,” she said, adding later that “I’ve already completed a successful career. I had nothing to gain from doing this.” The woman asked to not be identified by name. It’s unclear when, or if, Hyten’s confirmation hearing will move forward. Last month, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth sent a letter to acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking why Hyten was not removed from his post amid the investigation. The accusations against Hyten come at a time when the Pentagon has had an unusual amount of turmoil in its senior ranks, with only an acting defense secretary for the past six months. (Hyten said in 2017 that he would resist an “illegal” order.)