Colonel Accused Of Rape And Sexual Assault Allegedly Commits Suicide Days Before Military Trial

Col. Eugene Caughey, a former vice commander of Schriever Air Force Base, has allegedly committed suicide at his Colorado home, CBS News is reporting. The high-ranking officer was due to stand trial next month on charges of rape, indecent filming, dereliction of duty, and conduct unbecoming of an officer. His body was found after police authorities responded to a call of a suicide at 12:30 a.m on Sunday.

Caughey’s court-martial, which was meant to start October 17, would have been a rare instance where a top-ranking officer was being arraigned for sex crimes. A spokesman for Colorado Springs police, Sgt. Tim Stankey, confirmed that an autopsy was in the works to determine the cause of death, adding that assumptions of foul play were not paramount at the moment.

“We are investigating it as a death of an undetermined origin. We are waiting on autopsy results from the Coroner’s Office… we have no reason to suspect foul play at this time.”

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In 2013, investigators alleged that the Air Force colonel was having sex with a woman who was not his wife. Other investigations alleged that Col. Eugene Caughey had coerced a woman into giving him oral sex, taken pictures of a naked woman “without her consent,” and forcibly raped a married officer, “holding her against the wall and floor using physical strength.” The rape charge was a serious one and carried a maximum penalty of life in prison. In 2015, the Air Force colonel was also allegedly caught with an unregistered firearm on the base.

After a 15-count charge sheet was raised against the colonel, he was suspended from his post at the Schriever Air Force base and reassigned to the Air Force Space Command’s headquarters pending his trial.

The married colonel was charged with six counts of adultery — a crime in the military, even though court documents alleged it to be consensual sex with four women. He was also accused of groping two other women on different occasions and violated an order from a two-star general to stay away from one of his purported victims.

The women he was accused of sexually assaulting were portrayed as rejected lovers by his legal team, women who got jealous when he would not settle down with any of them. His lawyers had asked for his adultery charges to be dismissed, claiming that the military law frowning against extramarital sex was discrimination against heterosexuals. Under military law, adultery is described as sexual intercourse between a man and woman not married to each other. However, Caughey’s attorneys argued that same law did not apply to same-sex couples.

The hearings were conducted in secret, with Caughey shielded from the public. However, all that would have changed at his court-marital in October. Over six witnesses were expected to testify against the colonel, including the woman he had allegedly raped by “holding her against the wall and floor.” Another incident that would have been addressed was an allegation that Col. Eugene Caughey took a picture of his genitalia “while in uniform and seated in his office.”

Caughey’s attorney, Ryan Coward, refused to comment about the circumstances surrounding the Air Force colonel’s death, preferring to extol his patriotism and ask the public to sympathize with the family.

“This is very unfortunate for an officer that served our nation honorably for over 20 years. His family is grieving and asks that folks respect their privacy during this tough time.”

Col. Eugene Caughey joined the American Air Force in 1993 and was a captain inside the Pentagon when a hijacked plane crashed into the west side of the building. The 23-year-old military veteran was formally charged for rape and assault in December 10, 2015. It had proved to be herculean task assembling a jury to try him because military jurors must occupy the same rank or be higher in rank than the accused.

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