Incoming UTEP president testifies in defense of former colleague accused of sexual assault


Former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, left, accompanied by Gen. John Hyten, right, speaks before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, for Hyten’s confirmation hearing to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP’s incoming president, former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, testified this week in defense of a former colleague accused of sexual assault.

Air Force General John Hyten, President Trump’s nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is accused of sexually assaulting a subordinate in 2017.

According to the Associated Press, Wilson opened the hearing with an endorsement of Hyten, calling his accuser a “wounded soldier” who might “believe what she is saying is true.”

The alleged victim, a 28-year-old Army officer, told The Associated Press that she was upset by Wilson’s remarks.

“I was appalled and hurt quite frankly,” she said. “To suggest that I would lie under oath and make up an allegation of sexual assault because of my combat injury is disgusting. If you don’t believe me that is your prerogative, but do not dishonor my service to this country.”

The report states that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations reviewed the issue and could not find enough evidence to charge Hyten or issue any administrative punishment.

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