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A U.S. Army general who became the face of a sexual assault problem plaguing the military was demoted two grades from brigadier general to lieutenant colonel before being retired from service.

Jeffrey Sinclair will be retired at the lower rank as punishment for his inappropriate conduct with women under his command, the Army said in a statement. This is the first time in a decade that the Army has reduced a retiring general officer in rank so severely.

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Retiring at this lower rank means that Sinclair will not receive benefits he was entitled to as Brigadier General.

"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," Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in the statement.

Sinclair admitted to having a longtime affair with a woman under his command. She later accused him of sexually assaulting her on at least two occasions. Two other women also alleged that Sinclair coerced them into sexual relationships.

At a court-martial in March of this year, Sinclair was convicted after pleading guilty to adultery and maltreatment of a subordinate, among other offenses. Sinclair is one of only three general who have faced a court-martial since the 1950s.

For his actions, Sinclair received a $20,000 fine and a reprimand, but no jail sentence. Based on federal law, McHugh said he was unable to take further action.

— Courtney Kube and Jacob Passy