McKinney's First Accuser Refuses to Testify Citing Harassment of Other Accusers
In February, retired Sgt. Major Brenda L. Hoster's allegations of sexual misconduct against Sergeant Major of the Army, Gene C. McKinney, kicked off an investigation of the actions of the Army's top enlisted man. The Army is currently conducting a preliminary hearing into Hoster's and other women's allegations, against McKinney. But Susan Barnes, Brenda Hoster's attorney, says her client will not voluntarily testify at the hearing because Barnes thinks "the Army is punishing these women [for coming forward.]" Hoster complains that the Army has failed to protect the women accusing McKinney from unfair invasions into their private lives. In a letter to the Army prosecutors on the case, Barnes reiterated these sentiments and added that the decision of the Army's chief of staff, Dennis J Reimer, decision to issue a statement in support of McKinney even before the hearing is completed "makes a fair and impartial pretrial investigation impossible."
The hearing will decide whether or not McKinney will face a court martial for his actions. Army prosecutors are deciding whether or not to recall Hoster to active duty, thus allowing them to force her to testify. Two other women testifying against McKinney have faced personal attacks on their characters by defense attorneys. One woman had to change her job location because of the treatment she received from co-workers after accusing McKinney of sexual misconduct. She said, "People I thought I knew, I didn't know. People are judging me."
Media Resources: The Washington Post - July 2, 1997