An Air Force general at the center of criticism of the military’s sexual assault policies is stepping down as the Pentagon works to clean up its ranks under the close watch of President Barack Obama and Congress.
Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, the commander of the Third Air Force, will take early retirement at the end of the month amid questions that he’s mishandled prosecutions in two sexual assault cases.
In the most high-profile case, Franklin last spring overturned the jury conviction and sentence of a fighter pilot. His decision prompted an outcry from lawmakers who said he was protecting one of his men and led to major legislative changes to the military’s World War II-era justice system.
The annual defense authorization bill just signed by the president orders up more than two dozen changes to Pentagon sexual assault policy, including removing a commander’s authority to change the outcome of legal verdicts and reducing sentences.