Sen. Martha McSally on Tuesday said Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who has been nominated to be the second-highest ranking uniformed military officer, has been falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
The Arizona Republican, who revealed earlier this year that she was a victim of sexual assault when she was an officer in the Air Force, said “the truth is that General Hyten is innocent of these charges, Sexual assault happens in the military. It just didn’t happen in this case.”
Ms. McSally told the Senate Armed Services Committee during Gen. Hyten’s confirmation hearing to be the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that she hopes “the accuser gets the help she needs and finds the peace she is searching for, but it cannot be by destroying General Hyten with these false allegations.”
Earlier this month, a senior officer in the Air Force accused Gen. Hyten of forcing himself on her and kissing her after a conference in California in 2017. The allegations prompted investigations by both the Pentagon and the Senate committee, but neither found enough evidence to charge Gen. Hyten.
During the hearing, Gen. Hyten maintained his innocence, while his accuser, Kathryn Spletstoser, watched from the first row of the audience.
Although the Senate panel did not find enough evidence to verify Ms. Spletstoser’s claims, Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, said during the hearing the “lack of evidence does not mean it’s not true.”
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