Retired Army General's Trial on Rape and Incest Charges Postponed Again

James J. Grazioplene, a retired two-star Army general, was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on three counts of rape and three counts of incest. (US Army photo)
James J. Grazioplene, a retired two-star Army general, was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on three counts of rape and three counts of incest. (US Army photo)

The trial of retired Army Maj. Gen. James Grazioplene on rape and incest charges has been postponed for the second time this year.

Grazioplene, who has been in jail since December, was scheduled to stand trial in Prince Willian Circuit Court on Sept. 3 on charges of allegedly raping his daughter in the 1980s. His new trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 27, according to court documents.

Grazioplene had already been given a postponement of his original April 29 trial date to Sept. 3, but Judge Carroll Weimer Jr. granted his lawyers -- Thomas Pavlinic and John Irving -- the latest continuance at a July 10 hearing to give them more time to locate key witnesses, according to the Defendant's Notice and Motion to Continue.

The Army has appointed an officer to "make available witnesses to be interviewed by the defense team." However, several of the Army witnesses were unavailable for reasons such as changes of duty station or deployment-related absences, according to the notice.

Related: Incest, Rape Trial of Retired Army General Delayed Until September

"These Army witnesses will provide testimony that is clearly and unambiguously exculpatory ... and there can be no due process without their appearances," the defense document states.

The fact that the service is providing Grazioplene with assistance is a courtesy that the "government ought to be doing," according to Eugene Fidell, a well-known lawyer who specializes in military law.

"The Army did try to prosecute this officer, so it's not like there is a love affair going on there," he said.

The service charged Grazioplene in 2017 with violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice with six specifications of rape of a minor on multiple occasions between 1983 and 1989, The Washington Post reported.

But the Army dismissed the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled there should be a five-year statute of limitations on rape charges, according to an Army Times story.

Grazioplene, who retired from the Army in 2005, was arrested Dec. 7 and indicted by a Virginia grand jury on three counts of rape and three counts of incest allegedly involving his daughter between Aug. 1, 1987, and May 31, 1988, according to the Dec. 3 indictment documents.

The indictments against Grazioplene do not name his daughter, but a Dec. 16 Washington Post story reported that Jennifer M. Elmore, 47, said in an interview that she first reported to the Army in 2015 that her father, Grazioplene, had sexually abused her when she was a child.

At the time of the continuance hearing, Grazioplene's lawyers were also still trying to get Elmore's therapy records released to the defense, according to the motion to continue document.

"Defense counsel needs to safeguard that Gen. Grazioplene is accorded a fair and constitutionally effective defense against the accusations leveled against him," the document states.

Grazioplene is to remain in custody at the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center, according to the continuance order.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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