- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2000

Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy reported directly to the Army's inspector general last fall that another general had groped her in her Pentagon office in 1996, according to a military source familiar with the ongoing case.
This new detail about how Gen. Kennedy handled her complaint emerges as the Army IG, Lt. Gen. Michael Ackerman, is said to be in the final stages of writing a report on the explosive case of claimed general-on-general sexual harassment.
The military source said Gen. Kennedy, the Army's highest ranking female officer, did not want an investigation. She had just learned her purported harasser of three years earlier, Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith, was about to become the Army's deputy inspector general. Gen. Kennedy did not believe he was the right person for a post that oversees all investigations of personnel misconduct, including sexual harassment.
"She went to the IG to tell the IG you don't want this individual working for you," the military source said.
The officer likely to receive the IG report and decide the case is Gen. John M. Keane, the Army vice chief of staff. The Army's vice chief traditionally has handled cases of accused generals.
If Gen. Kennedy's charge is substantiated, Gen. Keane would probably mete out punishment administratively, perhaps through a letter of counseling or reprimand. Such action would end Gen. Smith's 34-year career.
Military sources said there is nothing in Gen. Smith's past to suggest he was ever accused of similar conduct.
When The Washington Times first reported Gen. Kennedy's charge March 30, details were sketchy on exactly how the three-star general handled the situation.
Some newspapers reported Gen. Kennedy, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, informally had reported the incident immediately afterward in October 1996.
But military sources later said she did not complain then. Instead, she says she confronted Gen. Smith directly and warned him never to do something like that again.
This fall, when she heard he was about to assume the deputy IG post, she mentioned the 1996 encounter to a friend on the Army staff at the Pentagon. That person, according to the military source, suggested she go to the Army IG and make her feelings known.
An investigation ensued. Gen. Smith, who is married, never took the deputy IG job. The Army sent him to the Army Materiel Command as a special assistant.
Gen. Smith, 55, and Gen. Kennedy, 52, have declined public comment. The Army officially will not acknowledge that an investigation exists. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has confirmed that she made a complaint.
The military source said Gen. Smith, who served in Saudi Arabia in 1996, visited Gen. Kennedy to discuss old times. She was then a major general, serving as assistant deputy chief for intelligence. She was destined for a third star in 1997, when she became the Army's first female lieutenant general. He was a few days away from pinning on a second general's star.
Two sources said they met in 1993 at Fort McPherson, Ga. They were neighbors on base as well as colleagues on Forces Command staff.
Gen. Smith is a career tank officer who saw combat in Vietnam.

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