USAF General convicted of sexual assault given stern talking to

| April 27, 2022

Maj Gen William Cooley

Last weekend, Major General William Cooley was convicted of sexual assault for kissing a woman. Not just any woman either. He was macking on his sister-in-law. Keeping it in the family. He was cleared on the charges of having groped her over the clothes. He was facing as much as seven years in prison on the felony.

The trial judge at the general’s court martial sentenced him yesterday. From Air Force Times;

Air Force Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, the former head of the Air Force Research Laboratory, was sentenced Tuesday to a reprimand and forfeiture of $10,910 a month for five months for the sexual assault of his brother’s wife.

Cooley’s sentence was handed down on the eighth day of his historic trial at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, by Col. Christina M. Jimenez, the senior military judge in the case. She is the chief circuit military judge, Air Force Trial Judiciary, Western Circuit, at Travis Air Force Base, California.

The case marked the first time a military court had issued a verdict in a case involving an Air Force general, as well as the first time sexual assault charges had led to criminal prosecution for an official so high in the chain of command.

On Saturday, Jimenez found the two-star guilty of one specification of the charge of abusive sexual contact for forcibly kissing the victim in a car after a barbeque in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Aug. 12, 2018. Cooley was found not guilty of two other specifications of the charge under Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

He had faced a maximum punishment of dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for seven years and a possible spot in the national sex offender database.

The victim agreed to be publicly identified by her relationship to the defendant, but not by name. Air Force Times does not publish the names of sexual assault victims without their permission to protect their privacy. The woman and her husband — an Air Force civilian employee — as well as Cooley’s mother and several other family friends and expert witnesses testified in the trial, which began April 18.

Both the government and defense presented evidence during the sentencing session Monday. Lead trial counsel, Lt. Col. Matthew Neil, offered an unsworn statement of the impact the assault had on the victim and her family.

“Bill robbed me of my safety, objectified me, disrespected me and my family, and forever destroyed all trust I ever had in him,” she said. “I was unable to trust the man my husband considered his closest brother, friend and confidante with my own safety and well-being.”

Though she “hoped and prayed for true contrition and lasting remorse” from her brother-in-law of about 30 years, she said she didn’t feel that she received it.

Cooley apologized Monday to both family and fellow airmen.

“I can honestly say I have come out a better human being than I was in 2018,” Cooley said, according to the Dayton Daily News. “I will work for the rest of my life to be a better person than the one who was portrayed in this trial.”

After court Tuesday, Nell said the sentence Cooley received sent a message.

“If this result influenced just one survivor to know that his or her attacker’s rank or status would not prevent them from being held accountable, that is a win for the United States and the military justice system,” Neil said.

Like all airmen convicted at a court-martial, Cooley will receive an automatic review on appeal.

As we all know, a reprimand of an officer (we’re told) is career death sentence. Though it’s not clear just how much higher the 56 year-old officer with 33 years in the service could have gone.


Category: Air Force, Dick Stepping

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Huh, what?

Last edited 2 months ago by Anonymous
Green Thumb

What a shit show.

Unsure if his level of transgression rated the level of UCMJ. On the other hand, a message was sent using this moron.

Hands off.


Divorce court may have been more appropriate than court martial.


Convicted at a General Court Martial.

This assclown is now a convicted felon.

Next up: “show cause” for retention on active duty and then retirement in the last rank in which he served honorably?

What say you, TAH SJAs/JAGs and/or TAH Sea Lawyers?


Ten large a month is gonna hurt I don’t care who you kissed.
But loss of 2nd amendment rights is a real kick in the balls.


I’m not sure that whatever he was convicted of was considered a felony. What he was charged with was absolutely a felony, but what he was convicted of was a lesser offense. My guess is that they convicted him of a misdemeanor specifically so he wouldn’t suffer the disabilities of a convicted felon. For that matter, I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that a felony conviction for an officer would include dismissal from the service, whcih AFAIK did not happen here. Dismissal is the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge. Disclosure: I am a lawyer but not a JAG so I don’t know the specifics of the UCMJ charge or how it converts to a Felony/misdemeanor for purposes of classification in the civilian world.


I’ve always heard that a conviction at a General Court Martial equated to a Federal felony conviction, regardless of the ultimate sentence that was imposed.

However, I could be wrong.


As far as I know, the UCMJ makes no such distinction. However, Federal law does.

Federal law defines a felony as any crime for which the maximum possible sentence is more than one year. (See 18 USC 3559 (a) (1) through (5) – it also assigns different letter “classes” to felonies). The actual sentence is irrelevant; the maximum possible sentence that could have been imposed governs.

Based on correspondence I’ve had with military lawyers, I’m pretty sure this is why Special Court-Martial convictions are not felonies. Special Courts-Martial can only impose a 1 year maximum sentence. In contrast, General Courts-Martial can impose longer sentences.

Whether the GO here is a felon for Federal purposes (e.g., gun ownership, etc . . . ) appears to depend on the specific UCMJ article (and variant, if any) for which he was found guilty. If the max possible sentence he could have received is greater than 1 year, the answer appears to be yes.

I’m not a lawyer, so I could be wrong.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hondo

I was a lawer for over 36 years, though I didn’t do criminal litigation. I fail to see how a conviction for kissing someone without consent could be a felony, which by definition carries an incarceration penalty of over a year. In civilian court this would be misdemeanor assault and battery. I suppose some jurisdictions might call it a sexual assault. Looks like the USAF didn’t even charge him with conduct unbecoming an officer. He will likely be quietly retired in a few months.


Counselor, gotta say ol’ Poe admires your use of the term “lawer” in your comments here. Makes it crystal clear that you view much of your esteemed profession just as most of the readers at TAH do.

Good on ya…you’re a fine man and I’ll wager a damned fine lawer as well… 😆 

MI Ranger

While I am not a Lawyer, I would agree with rgr769. The details from the sentence do not say Dismissal, only a reprimand (so no upward mobility). He could have been convicted of a felony but did not. Instead he got convicted of lesser charges. He will quietly retire.
As for if he would miss his 2A rights. Based on his bio: He was a scientist (BS/MS in Mech Engineering, PhD in Applied Physics (Photo Voltaic Cells and Crystal Growth) and a Zoomy (spent most of his time in the research labs). My guess is he did not exercise those rights prior much.

MI Ranger

He will get out and get rich working for the Green New Deal folks


Different spanks for different ranks. One of my old CO’s (as a LtCol) LEGIT was screwing hookers in the back of a taxi about a decade ago. He was married/kids. He just got selected/nominated for his first star. It’s not what you know/its who you blow…or something like that.

Green Thumb

(with sarcasm)

Good for him!

He had the common sense to screw hookers as opposed to his sister-in-law.


Yes, if they start court martialing officers and NCO’s for screwing hookers, the leadership of the Armed Forces is doomed. Back in my day, anyone on R&R at sites other that Hawaii was screwing hookers or they were dead on the first day of R&R in Bangkok, etc.


Darn it! You let the cat out of the bag! Nobody was supposed to know that.

I have always wondered what the American women who worked at the R&R center in Taipei thought about their husbands being stationed there. There must have been some interesting husband-wife conversations.

“Honey, I was only in the brothel to make sure the whores’ health inspections were up to date!”

“Why did it take two hours?”
(long pause)
“There were a lot of whores? They couldn’t find their certificates in their purses?….OW!”


My first R&R was in Taipei. I remember when the plane landed, an Air Force officer came on the plane and announced: “Gentlemen, the bar girls of Taipei welcome you! Now get out there, but stay out of trouble.”


Bar girls? I don’t remember any bar girls. Just walk into the brothel, pick a girl, sign the rental agreement (no ID required, and definitely no credit card needed) and off you go.

One of the first things I saw on the way from the airport to the R&R center was a fully manned anti-aircraft gun position. A bit odd for an R&R spot I thought.


“Honey, I was only in the brothel to make sure the whores’ health inspections were up to date!”
For Bangkok:

Change 1.

  1. Delete “brothel”
  2. Insert “massage parlor.”
  3. Delete “whore”
  4. Insert “masseuse”
Hack Stone

Was it the base Commander in Charleston who got busted for soliciting a prostitute one afternoon in his Navy uniform?


Stateside, that is definitely conduct unbecoming. Especially in uniform in public.


“a loss of confidence in Little’s judgment”

I suppose that’s one way to put it. I guess you can’t call someone, especially an officer, a stupid, dumbass, SOB in an official document.

Kansas Gunner

I am not so sure, I saw a SPC(P) get a similar punishment for a drunken groping incident circa 2009. Knocked him down to PFC and took thirty days pay and he ended up being put out due to hitting his RCP. A better question in this case is where in the hell was the brother? He should have given the General some free fist based dental work.

Hack Stone

Their Family Thanksgiving Dinners must resemble The Jerry Springer Show.

Green Thumb


jeff LPH 3 63-66

I bet he sat there Cooley listening to the judge’s reprimand with loss of beaucoup Moolla shmoola.

A Proud Infidel®™

 ‘…a reprimand and forfeiture of $10,910 a month for five months…”

There goes either the new Mercedes or a Country Club membership!

Dumbass dick-stomper.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Does he lose his coffee cup??????


Since it is the Chair Force, they prolly have a ceremony like the one in “Branded.” But instead of ripping off his insignia and breaking his sword, they smash his coffee mug in front of the water cooler.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

So the waterboard would ok the highly praised mug on the eve of destruction of the coffee mug.


And remove the wheels from his swivel chair!


I guess the court didn’t have time, forethought or the money to go to the Dollar Store to purchase a pool noodle for the purpose of flogging him soundly it. 😜 

AW1 Rod

So, this waste of carbon walks away with what is essentially a slap on the wrist. Go, Air Force!

A Proud Infidel®™

Like it’s been said before, “Different spanks for different Ranks!”.


“Bailiff, whack his pee-pee!”

Skivvy Stacker

Yes. This sent a message.
If you’ve got stars, you get to sail away. If you’re enlisted, you’ll have the prison walls fall on you.
Justice can’t be had, no matter where you are.


Why in the flying fuck is he making $10k a month?

Yeah, his sentence “sent a message”. If you’re high enough up they won’t do shit to you so you can retire.

K. R.

if he wasnt a pilot, probably would not make rank of Lt Gen.