- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2016

The U.S. Air Force said Thursday it has removed its assistant vice chief of staff, Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, after an investigation revealed he had engaged in an “unprofessional relationship” with a married female officer five years ago.

Gen. Hesterman, who previously commanded the U.S. Air Force component of U.S. Central Command, submitted a request for retirement Thursday, the Air Force said in a statement.

The Air Force is still deciding whether it will downgrade his rank for engaging in an unprofessional relationship with a lower-ranking officer and engaging in conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman, Reuters reported.

The Air Force said it had uncovered emails that “constituted an unprofessional relationship,” but said the investigation did not cover any additional misconduct.

The investigation found Gen. Hesterman exchanged “sexually suggestive” emails with the female officer between May 2010 and May 2011, when he was a major general.

“The language is sexually suggestive in parts and indicates a relationship that has gone well beyond a professional, mentorship situation,” the investigation report said, according to Reuters.

A third allegation against Gen. Hesterman was not substantiated, the Air Force said.

The anonymous complain alleged that Gen. Hesterman interfered in military assignments of the female officer’s husband, Reuters reported.

The investigation report raised concern about a passage in one email in which Gen. Hesterman “intimated that he improperly influenced” the female officer’s boss to praise her and expected “full credit” for doing so.

Both officer were married to other people at the time the emails were exchanged.

Both denied engaging in sexual intercourse, but the female officer told one of the witnesses interviewed in the investigation that there had been “inappropriate touching.”

However, the female officer said that some emails included in her divorce proceedings were fabricated.

In a February statement, she said it appeared that someone had used her former email account to correspond with Gen. Hesterman, Reuters reported.

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