AF two-star’s sexual assault case moving to court martial

| April 22, 2021

Maj Gen William Cooley

We’ve talked about Maj Gen William Cooley before. His case is moving forward after the convening authority has reviewed the evidence and the results of the Article 32 hearing. He’ll be the first general officer to be tried at court martial in Air Force history (as a separate service, the court martial of Billy Mitchell obvious happened, but he was technically Army at the time).

Air Force Times reports;

Maj. Gen. William Cooley, the former commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, will face court-martial on a sexual assault charge, marking the first time the Air Force has ever opted to prosecute a general officer.

Cooley is accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a civilian woman, kissing and touching her through her clothes while off duty in Albuquerque, N.M., in August 2018. The two-star general also faces allegations that he made the woman touch him sexually through his clothing, without her consent. The woman is not a military employee.

He faces one charge under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, spanning three acts of sexual assault as described by the code’s Article 120. The trial date has not yet been scheduled.

“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,” said Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold Bunch in an announcement Wednesday. “I can assure you this was not a decision made lightly, but I believe it was the right decision.”

Cooley lost his job at AFRL on Jan. 15, 2020, after nearly three years in the post, following an Air Force Office of Special Investigations inquiry into the misconduct allegations. He then became Bunch’s special assistant, handling the Air Force’s technology innovation efforts.

A senior military judge reviewed the case at a preliminary hearing that began Feb. 8 to determine if there was probable cause that Cooley violated the UCMJ. The defense argued Cooley fell victim to a “conspiracy” to end his career after a consensual romantic encounter, the Dayton Daily News reported. Cooley has denied that he and the woman touched each other, other than the kiss.

Government counsel countered that Cooley’s claims of honesty conflicted with earlier statements made to investigators and his accuser.

The judge sent an undisclosed recommendation on whether the case should proceed to Bunch, who made the final call to begin a court-martial.

“The Air Force trial judiciary will identify a senior military judge and coordinate timing and venue for the court-martial proceeding,” according to an AFMC release. “Jurors, or court members, must either be officers of higher rank, or equivalent grade but with an earlier date of rank to the accused.”

Category: Air Force, Crime, Dick Stepping

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Only Army Mom

Someone please tell me this guy is a screwup and scumbag and this is not what the defense alleges.

Green Thumb

Tell you what OAM,I hope you are right. But if he is a dirtbag, hammer him.

But I will say this and I do not want it to be taken the wrong way.

This day and age if I have to meet with a woman over anything or any issue in a professional setting that could be even remotely construed as borderline confrontational or contentious (challenging an academic grade, requesting a special provision of some sort, making an observational comment – potentially negative, questioning a bill, receipt or action, etc.), whether I like the person or not, I always bring my wife with me into the room.

She does not speak, but it definitely changes the playing field. Most of them do not like it, but it is what it is.

I do it for my protection. God forbid the conversation does not go the way the woman or myself wants it. When I leave, I could be accused of inappropriate of aggressive conduct and I can not prove otherwise. In this day and age, the man is screwed. That is how far the pendulum has swung.

And while I really do not have an issue with the pendulum, some see an opportunity to use it as a weapon.

Unfortunate truth and a hard reality.

Hack Stone

Mike Pence did the same thing, and the left mocked him. In his defense, no woman has ever accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.



Only Army Mom

GT, Hack,
I hear you and feel for you. As a woman, I support and applaud GT’s and Pence’s wisdom. As a woman, it makes me furious it has come to this point. Yes, the pendulum has swung and it is now at an equally unsustainable, unfair arc on the other end.

Back when the Boys club protected each other, I wanted them all to hang. Now, when the “believe all women” crowd protect each other I want them all to hang just as hard. If anything, harder because of the damage they do to all those who ever were actual victims of sexual harassment.

Let’s be clear – there is a huge difference between harassment and assault. If the charges here are true, this is a borderline situation. Did he, with physical force, require he be touched or touch her? Did he arrange to ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ touch her or cause her to touch him? Both are wrong but without the use or threat of force or physical violence, don’t call it an assault and diminish those words.

If the defense position is true, name her, shame her and publicly ruin her. As Justice Kennedy said, the proper response to a lie is public ridicule and humiliation.

Green Thumb

Great points.


Green Thumb says, “In this day and age, the man is screwed.”

Ol’ Poe says, “Unless of course you’re a liberal Democrat, in which case the support for the woman/women is inexplicably diminished and the media somehow quickly lose interest.”


See: Bill Clinton


Plus: “It depends upon what the definition of ‘is’ is.”


The NCO’s that I was raised by all had a very simple rule of “Never ever under any circumstances be alone with a female Soldier”.


Correct. I never–not once–allowed myself to be alone with any soldier. Particularly as a 1SG and Sergeant Major.

Too easy to claim anything and impossible to prove otherwise.

I would not even be alone with the COL in my last assignment. When she asked why, I told her that being a COL in no way meant that I was going to risk my–or her–career.

She got it. Didn’t like it, but got it.


You aren’t the only one.

No closed door meetings alone with females. No mentoring alone. No work dinners alone. Avoid business trips with females. If I do have to go on a work trip with a female we travel separately and do not meet up after hours.

I’m not hazarding everything I’ve spent a life time building by allowing myself to be in a position where its he said, she said.


Green Thumb



True dat.


Maybe it’s BS, but I fear:


Prior to retirement, my worry was that my mouth (and by it my opinions) were going to get me in trouble. As we descended deeper and deeper into what I now see as cancel culture, it was always a possibility. I never went out of way to say verboten things to large groups, but there was always the risk of being overheard.
In 24 years of reserve then active duty, however, there was 0% chance that I was at risk of a legitimate harassment charge. I found that to be quite easy, actually. That’s because I didn’t engage in that sort of behavior. I’ve never understood these people who get to such heights in their career piss it all away for a piece of tail.


Many a man has pissed all away for either a piece of tail, money or for power and glory. Maybe he thought he could get away with it because other flag officers have done the same thing and have not suffered the consequences.

If he is found guilty and sent to prison he will know what it is like to be the victim of unwanted touching.


“If he is found guilty and sent to prison he will know what it is like to be the victim of unwanted touching.

OK, it’s completely inappropriate and not PC and probably not even nice that I kinda maybe, a little bit, giggled at this statement.
So, I’ll own it. Yeah, it was nice, subtle.
Good one STSC(SW/SS)

Green Thumb

Great point.

If one does not play with fire, then one cannot be burned.

It also helps to stay out of the kitchen as well.


She said, he said, I wasn’t there so I don’t know. If it is proven he is guilty then nail his azz. If it is proven she is lying, then nail her azz. I have been falsely accused, charged, arrested, and jailed because of lies. And no, it was NOT Good Times.


An Assistant U.S. Attorney told me, “50 years ago, if you told a businessman he could be sued and lose his business because he made a pass at his secretary he would say that will never happen in the United States”. Some of these sexual harassment laws violate basic Constitutional rights, i.e. the right to confront your accuser, burden of proof on the accuser not the defendant, and no recourse for a person falsely accused.

Hack Stone

Happening every day on college campuses. President Trump pushed legislation to provide rights to the accused, the Democrats called it his war on women. When did the right to know your accuser become a bad thing?


Has anyone besides me ever wanted to find Gropey Joe complaining that he was assaulted by some overheated female fan?


Gee, I just don’t know what to say, other than if these gropey guys ever grow up, someone please let me know.

Form where I stand, having put up with more crap from sailors than anything else, and not running into it in the civilian world, all that hesaid/shesaid stuff seems kind of childish. I guess this generation of twits in uniform and civvies never learned simple good manners – something like that.

On the other hand, someone with rank doing the naughty isn’t new. During the Regency Period, George IV, aka Prince Florian, was notorious for hitting on women, especially if they had any money, whether they liked it or not. They thought they had to put up with it because he was the Heir to the throne, once his old man George III croaked.

So in this case, based on a bunch of stuff, I’d say this pair of slackwits were looking for something, groped each other, didn’t get what either of them wanted, and she said/he said raises its head, and she wants some cash out of it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I would love to be in the end-of-row unit in the Ladies Room and hear what really happened, right out of her own mouth.

If she really was assaulted, why didn’t she report it right away? I get the impression that she went home and thought about it and enlarged on it and turned it into something-something-something.

But that’s just me.

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

How come people can call cooley cooley when cooley is racist. Not cool and if sent to the cooler, he can cool off his heals while singing cool water.


Let’s see. There are 59 3-4 Stars in the Air Force. They need 8 for a trial. That’s is 14% of the population. They would have to find ones that don’t know him and aren’t familiar with the case.

If they open up to ranking 2 stars that widens the pool quite a bit. Finding 2 stars that outrank him should not be that much of a challenge as 3-4 Stars are temporary ranks and two stars are permanent.

Let’s say they seat 8 2 Stars that will be about $18K X 8 = $144K just to pay their salaries for a month without the TDY they would doubtless incur unless they hold it in DC. Figure the court martial and related proceedings will be well over a $1M. Interest of justice and all that.


Come on now 5JC
You *know* they’ll just tax us or print more.
Money is no object.
/sarc on-“White devil is guilty anyway, so just get it over with…” /sarc off


I have known Gen Bunch for 20 years. he will let the system work. He is a great and very kind man but he understands that Art 32 isn’t a trial. He will let prosecutors and defense put their cases to the jury and live with the results

Prior Service

I had the misfortune of being subject to an allegation of failure to properly respond to a sexual assault complaint by a psycho, nightmare captain in my office at work. I was a week into the job, brand new, when my deputy brings her to me to make a sexual harassment complaint about her boss—one of my branch chiefs. I counsel him to knock it off but even a week in, I thinks
she is full of crap, but I have to take it seriously. Several months go by, somebody makes an anonymous allegation about her and my deputy and of course she lashes out with allegations against everybody, including that I didn’t properly respond to her sexual assault complaint when what she came to me with was a complaint of sexual harassment. Assault or harassment, both were BS, but I was under investigation for four months before being cleared. Of course after she left the organization, suddenly everybody had a story about what a nightmare she had been for her whole three years. Literally the highest stress I’ve ever experienced in 32 years in the army.