The former senior enlisted leader of the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery faces a general court-martial in October over charges of sexual misconduct.
Sgt. Maj. Dustin Bice was relieved from his leadership position once the criminal charges were referred to a court-martial, according to Sgt. 1st Class Chris Harper, a spokesperson for the 7th Infantry Division, which maintains administrative control of all 2nd Infantry Division units at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Bice is charged with “offenses related to sexual harassment and abusive sexual contact against a subordinate,” Harper told Army Times. “Charges are merely accusations and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
He has pled not guilty, according to court-martial records and his attorney.
“We look forward to having our day in court to tell the real story and to clear his good name,” said Jocelyn Stewart, his attorney.
A charge sheet obtained by Army Times stated that Bice groped a subordinate on the breast, buttocks and thigh without her consent. The alleged abusive sexual contact took place in February.
The sergeant major also reportedly told the soldier to delete her text messages in an effort to obstruct justice, according to the charge sheet.
Prosecutors also charged Bice with assault, attempted fraternization, maltreatment of a subordinate and disobeying regulations prohibiting sexual harassment.
Harper emphasized that the command prioritizes addressing sexual misconduct by senior leaders.
“As in any case of sexual harassment, these allegations of senior leader misconduct are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly prior to disposition,” Harper said.
“Sergeant Major Bice has served with distinction in a dedicated career spanning more than 26 years, including being awarded 4 Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and 2 Meritorious Service Medals. From the start he has strongly denied any wrongdoing surrounding the spurious allegations against him,” said Stewart, Bice’s attorney. “In the current climate, the Army ignores the side of the person who is accused, and every allegation moves forward without any meaningful investigation.”
Bice is not the only former command sergeant major to face criminal charges for sexual misconduct this year.
A former Fort Bragg, North Carolina, sergeant major will go to trial for an alleged sexual assault in October, in addition to charges of desertion, extortion, and destroying evidence before his previous court-martial.
The former command sergeant major of Winn Army Community Hospital at Fort Stewart, Georgia, was also sentenced to six months of confinement and dropped in rank to specialist after he was convicted of sexual misconduct in April.
And the former senior enlisted leader of the 4th Infantry Division Artillery was sentenced last month after pleading guilty to an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and sending lewd text messages to a woman.
That soldier, now-Sgt. 1st Class Benito Perez, was initially charged with sexually assaulting a minor — the same woman to whom he was convicted of sending lewd text messages — but the child sex charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement, according to The Gazette.