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173rd Airborne Major Charged with Sexual Assault

HEIDELBERG, Germany — A 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team major has been charged with sexually assaulting a private first class under his command while on temporary duty.

Maj. Rodney H. Lipscomb is charged with six counts of sexual assault in violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

He is also charged with sodomy, cruelty and maltreatment, failure to obey an order or regulation and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

According to the charge sheet, Lipscomb, assigned to brigade headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, sexually touched the soldier repeatedly and made her engage in sexual acts by "placing her in fear of abuse of military position, rank and authority," "causing bodily harm to her," and "by force and without consent."

The major took the soldier to a sex shop in Bamberg, Germany, the charge sheet says, and discussed sexual practices. He went to her hotel room where he touched her genitals and performed oral sex on her, according to the charge sheet.

"What happens TDY, stays TDY," Lipscomb told the woman, according to the charge sheet.

Lipscomb's court-martial is scheduled to begin Aug. 27 in Vicenza. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officials with U.S. Army Africa, the convening authority in the case, declined to confirm whether Lipscomb, who was commissioned in 2001, according to the charge sheet, had been assigned as the brigade's top signal officer.

In an article for a professional military journal last year, Maj. Rodney H. Lipscomb II was identified as the 173rd's "S-6" – the officer in charge of communications security and operations.

According to the article's biographical notes, Lipscomb earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Marshall University in West Virginia, where he was a member of ROTC.

An Article 32 hearing to determine whether the case should proceed to court-martial was held in March, officials said.

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