The Army has fired a two-star general after allegations surfaced that he carried on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate’s wife.
The Army removed Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington from his command of U.S. Army Africa on Friday, citing a loss in confidence in his ability to command, The Associated Press reports.
Harrington is under investigation, due to dozens of racy messages he sent a subordinate’s wife over Facebook, according to Army spokesman Col. Patrick Seiber. Harrington was initially suspended, but stayed in Italy while the Army was coming to a final determination on his job status.
Now, the Army says Harrington will remain in the Army, but will be reassigned to the Pentagon and work as special assistant to director of the Army Staff. Once the Army’s investigation into Harrington’s activities is concluded, more action may be coming down the road.
Some of the messages included Harrington texting the woman: “HOTTIE” and “U can be my nurse.” He followed up the latter text with: “I’d enjoy being in a tent with U.”
“I don’t think your husband would be happy if he knew you chatted with another man,” Harrington said at a later point.
In one of the messages, Harrington even asked the woman to delete their correspondence.
Harrington’s case is reflective of a pattern of sexual misconduct scandals over the last several years, prompting the Army to pioneer various mental health and counseling programs to help keep generals from straying off the path.
Army Lt. Gen. Ed Cardon, who is charged with creating these programs, recently told The Associated Press that bad behavior will no longer be tolerated, just because a person may be especially competent at their job.
“The idea that we’ll be perfect, I think, is unrealistic, but we can be better and we strive to be better,” Cardon said. “Competence is no longer enough. Character is as or even more important.”
“We have tolerated people doing things they shouldn’t be doing because we say all of them are extremely competent and really good at what they do,” Cardon added. “And that’s not good enough now because you’re not only damaging yourself, you’re damaging the institution. We have great trust with the American people, every time one of these things happens, you’re putting a nick in that.”
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