Editor’s note: This article was updated on Aug. 23, 2023, at 8:45 pm EST with a statement from Maj. Gen. Michael Turley.
The head of the Utah National Guard was put on paid administrative leave by the state’s governor following an Army investigation.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox announced Maj. Gen. Michael Turley’s suspension on Thursday, Lt. Col. Chris Kroeber, a Utah Guard spokesperson, said in a statement. Turley’s suspension comes after the Army Inspector General Agency concluded an investigation into allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, USA Today reported.
“The United States Army Inspector General Agency has concluded its investigation into allegations against Maj. Gen. Michael Turley with a substantiated finding,” Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith said in a statement to Military Times about the service’s investigation.
The investigation was underway by April 2022, according to documents obtained by Military Times. Cox’s office contacted Utah Guard officials seeking information on the investigation in September 2022.
“I have not been provided with the government’s report so that I can exercise my due process rights,” Turley said in a statement provided to Military Times. “I deny any improper relationship. Once my counsel and I have had a chance to review the report and reply, I will make some decisions.”
This comes a week after news broke that the Army National Guard fired Maj. Gen. Eric Little amid allegations that he led a toxic workplace rife with sexism. As the director of the National Guard Bureau’s Manpower and Personnel directorate, one of Little’s duties was to oversee the service’s sexual assault prevention and equal opportunity programs.
The Pentagon is also working to address the recent rise in sexual assault and harassment across the military. The annual sexual assault prevention and response report for 2022 estimates that more than 8% of female service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2021. That is the highest rate since the department began counting in 2004. For men, it was the second-highest figure, at 1.5%. At the service academies, a report for the 2021-2022 school year said that one in five female students had experienced unwanted sexual contact.
Kroeber said that Brig. Gen. Daniel Boyack will “immediately assume” command of the Utah Guard in the interim until a permanent appointment can be made. A permanent appointment is expected by next month, Kroeber said.
Army Times’ Davis Winkie contributed reporting to this story.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.