The head of a Georgia-based battalion that trains National Guard and Army Reserve units has been relieved of command after accusations that he had been sexually assaulting the unit’s sexual assault response coordinator, according to documents obtained by Army Times.
Lt. Col. Melvin Sanders was relieved of command of 3rd Battalion, 395th Armor Regiment, 188th Infantry Brigade on June 29 by Maj. Gen. Todd McCaffrey, head of First Army-Division East, according to a relief letter obtained by Army Times. The battalion is based at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
“We are unable to comment on specific aspects of an investigation or administrative actions,” McCaffrey said in a statement to Army Times. “We can tell you definitively, however, that Lt. Col. Sanders was relieved of command following a [Criminal Investigation Command] investigation into reported misconduct.”
That investigation, which was launched after a March 27 report, accused Sanders of multiple instances of abusive sexual contact and cruelty toward subordinates. The alleged incidents took place between late 2015 and early 2017 against a female sergeant first class, according to the investigation.
“[The victim] stated LTC Sanders pinned her against his desk and sexually assaulted her on several occasions, and continued the assaults after she told him to stop,” according to the CID report obtained by Army Times. “LTC Sanders denied he sexually assaulted [the victim].”
Army Times does not identify the victims of alleged sexual assault.
CID interviewed and obtained sworn statements from four senior noncommissioned officers in support of the investigation, sending out a final serious incident report on July 7.
No charges have been filed, McCaffrey said.
“No charges have been preferred for court-martial or non-judicial punishment, and we now consider the action closed,” he said.
Sanders, however, has not gotten his job back — Lt. Col. Randy Riker has been in command since early August, according to McCaffrey.
Sanders has been reassigned to another unit at Fort Stewart, First Army spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Odorizzi told Army Times.