Army Reinstates War College Commandant After Sexual Contact Investigation

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Brig. Gen. Stephen J. Maranian delivers a speech.
Brig. Gen. Stephen J. Maranian, guest speaker and deputy commanding general-maneuver, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, speaks during the 68th anniversary ceremony for the Battle of Chipyong-ni at Chipyong-ni Combat Monument and Memorial Hall, Feb. 21. (U.S. Army photo)

The Army has reinstated the commandant of the Army War College after an investigation found no basis to bring charges against him regarding allegations of abusive sexual contact.

Maj. Gen. Stephen Maranian was suspended from his position Feb. 9 amid allegations of inappropriate touching, and an investigation was launched by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, or CID.

In a news release Wednesday, the Army said that the investigation found no probable cause Maranian committed that offense, adding that he would be reinstated  immediately.

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The Army sought to underscore the thoroughness of its investigation in the release explaining the decision to reinstate Maranian, amid growing concern about sexual assault in the military and shortcomings in how the services investigate and prosecute crimes. 

"The decision regarding probable cause was completely independent of any command influence and was not presented to any commander for a disposition decision," the Army said.

Investigators interviewed 16 witnesses, some multiple times, as they sought to determine whether there was probable cause, the Army said.

CID referred the case to an independent special victim prosecutor and a former civilian prosecutor who now works as an expert for the Army. Both officials decided there was not enough evidence to find the alleged offense had probably occurred, the service said. Before charges can be filed, prosecutors are required to determine whether the existing evidence clears a legal hurdle, known as probable cause, meaning that the evidence indicates the crime likely happened.

The military is facing increased calls -- including from an independent commission established by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and leading lawmakers such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. -- to remove commanders from the process of deciding whether to prosecute sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.

Maranian became the war college's commandant in July 2020. He previously served as deputy commander of education at the Army's Combined Arms Center and as the provost at Army University.

The Army War College is located at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, serving as a program focused on teaching strategy to senior officers.

-- Stephen Losey can be reached at stephen.losey@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StephenLosey.

Related: Suspended Army War College Commandant Accused of 'Inappropriate Touching'

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