WASHINGTON (June 20, 2014) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today that he has stripped a general officer of two grades before retiring him from service with the United States Army.

Jeffery Sinclair, who currently holds the rank of Brigadier General, will be retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. This is the first time the Army has reduced a retiring general officer by two ranks in a decade.

"While retirement benefits are mandated by federal law, there is a requirement that an individual must have served satisfactorily in rank before receiving those benefits," McHugh explained. "Sinclair displayed a pattern of inappropriate and at times illegal behavior both while serving as a Brigadier General and a Colonel. I therefore decided there was sufficient evidence and cause to deny him those benefits."

Sinclair was convicted at a court-martial in March, 2014, after pleading guilty to criminal offenses including adultery, maltreatment of a subordinate, engaging in improper relationships, willful disobedience of an order, wrongful use of a government travel card, wrongful possession of pornography, and conduct unbecoming an officer. He was fined $20,000 and issued a reprimand.

McHugh noted that he is prevented by federal law from taking further action, and did what was "legally sustainable."

"During Capitol Hill hearings, I was asked whether Sinclair would receive a pension after proceedings were complete," McHugh explained. "Under federal law, if a person has earned a pension because of their years of service, they are entitled to those benefits; Congress might consider a change in the law that would allow greater flexibility and accountability."