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The BBC's Jeff Phillips:
"General Smith denies the allegations"
 real 28k

Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Female general wins harassment claim
The US Army has been hit by several sex scandals
Officials at the US Defence Department have confirmed that the country's highest-ranking female army officer has been sexually harassed at her Pentagon office.

Lieutenant-General Claudia Kennedy alleged that another general, Major-General Larry Smith, had harassed her in 1996.

Senior officials at the Pentagon say her complaint has been substantiated by army investigators.

General Smith, who denies the allegations, will now be given the opportunity of replying formally to the army finding before a decision on his future is made.

The BBC's Jeff Phillips in Washington says reports suggest that the general, who is married, will be formally reprimanded and retired.

General Kennedy
General Kennedy: Told friends about the incident
Details of the incident have not been made public, but it is believed General Kennedy complained that General Smith had touched her in a sexual way and tried to kiss her.

General Kennedy made no formal complaint at the time of the incident, although she did tell friends and colleagues.

She raised the issue formally only last summer, when General Smith was about to be appointed as the army's deputy Inspector-General.

Promotion on hold

His duties would have included investigation of sexual harassment allegations. His promotion was placed on hold after General Kennedy's complaint.

General Kennedy, who is the army's deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and one of only three female lieutenant-generals in the US military, is herself due to retire next month.

William Cohen
William Cohen: Zero-tolerance policy on harassment
At the time of her complaint, the Defence Secretary William Cohen said the army maintained a "zero-tolerance" policy on harassment, which meant that no harassment at any level would be acceptable or tolerated.

General Kennedy, who is not married, served on a special task force in 1997 that examined sexual harassment in the Army and concluded that it existed "throughout the Army, crossing gender, rank and racial lines".

The Pentagon has often cited General Kennedy as proof that women can rise to the top levels of the army without harassment or discrimination.

This is not the first sexual scandal to hit the US army. In recent years two generals have been demoted for having adulterous affairs.

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31 Mar 00 | Americas
US general 'sexually harassed'
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