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Mass. Guard chief retires after rape probe

Sep. 19, 2012 - 03:04PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 19, 2012 - 03:04PM  |  
Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter is seen in 2011.
Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter is seen in 2011. (Sgt. 1st Class Don Veitch / Army)
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BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick says a federal investigation into a rape allegation against Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter, the head of the Massachusetts National Guard, was inconclusive and authorities decided not to prosecute him but he has decided to resign.

The governor said Carter informed him on Wednesday that he was retiring from the guard, and Patrick said he accepted his resignation from the post.

Carter, the guard's adjutant general, was placed on paid leave in March after informing Patrick that the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command was investigating him for the alleged rape of a subordinate in Florida nearly 30 years ago.

Patrick said in a statement that he had now received the final report from the Army.

"Although the investigators were unable to reach definitive conclusions about the allegations and federal authorities declined to prosecute, the report raises serious concerns about the General's actions and his response to the allegations," the governor said. "It is clear to me that General Carter can no longer serve as Adjutant General."

Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Command, said the report would not immediately be released but could be available through a formal public records request. A telephone listing for Carter could not be found.

Patrick called the resignation a "disappointing end" to Carter's 30-year career. In 2007, he became the first black commander of the 375-year-old Massachusetts National Guard, the nation's oldest reserve military force.

Carter said at the time of his suspension that he was cooperating with the investigation, but said he was shocked by the allegation and categorically denied it. Carter said he first learned of the allegation about two years ago during court martial proceedings against retired Lt. Col. Mark Murray, who is now serving as the National Guard's quartermaster, in charge of distributing supplies and provisions to troops.

The 2010 court martial was triggered by allegations that Murray had misused federal money. A transcript of the proceeding shows that Murray sought to beat back charges against him by suggesting they were filed in retaliation for his investigation of the 1984 rape allegation against Carter.

Murray was serving as a military lawyer when he was assigned to investigate the case of a woman who was trying to rejoin the National Guard nearly two years after she was dishonorably discharged. He said in court martial transcripts that the woman tried to explain nine absences that led to her discharge by claiming that she wanted to avoid contact with Carter after he raped her. The woman said she didn't immediately report the attack because she was scared of Carter, who was then a lieutenant.

Patrick said Maj. Gen. Leon Scott Rice, who was named acting adjutant general following Carter's suspension, will continue to lead the unit on an interim basis. About 8,500 soldiers and airmen are in the Massachusetts National Guard.

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