Retired Two-Star Reduced to 2nd Lieutenant After Sexual Battery Conviction



James Grazioplene, the retired Army major general who last year pleaded guilty to sexual battery, has been reduced in rank to second lieutenant.

Grazioplene was indicted by a Virginia grand jury on multiple charges, including rape, incest and aggravated sexual battery, allegedly involving his daughter in 1987 and 1988. He pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual battery last July in a deal that saw the rest of the charges dismissed.

In an email Tuesday morning, Pentagon spokeswoman Lisa Lawrence said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reduced Grazioplene’s rank to the lowest possible for an officer in retirement.

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“The Secretary of Defense changed the retired grade of then-Major General James J. Grazioplene, United States Army retired, to second lieutenant after determining that second lieutenant was the highest grade in which he served on active duty satisfactorily,” Lawrence said. “This action may not be appealed. Second Lieutenant Grazioplene will maintain any benefits or privileges authorized for retired officers in the grade of second lieutenant.”

Army Times first reported the reduction in rank.

Grazioplene’s daughter, Jennifer Elmore, identified herself as his victim and chose to speak publicly about her story.

The Army originally charged Grazioplene in 2017 with violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including six specifications of rape of a minor on multiple occasions between 1983 and 1989.

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that there should be a five-year statute of limitations on rape charges, and the Army dismissed the case.

The case then moved to civilian court in Prince William County, Virginia. Grazioplene was arrested in December 2018 after a grand jury indictment. After several delays, he was slated to face trial last September.

But in July 2020, Grazioplene pleaded guilty to the single charge in exchange for a 20-year suspended sentence and supervised probation. By that point, he had been incarcerated for 18 months and served no additional jail time as part of the plea agreement.

Elmore’s attorney said at the time that she supported the plea agreement “because at the end of the day, the truth was more important than the punishment for her.”

The reduction in retired rank means, among other things, that Grazioplene’s retirement pay will be slashed by more than two-thirds.

He retired from the Army in 2005.

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

Related: Retired General Accepts Plea Deal, Avoids More Jail Time in Rape Case

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