WASHINGTON – A Maryland congressman is coming to the defense of the top officer at the Army’s scandal-rocked Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
Rep. Robert Ehrlich, R-Baltimore County, on Friday called the Army’s anticipated reprimand of Maj. Gen. Robert Shadley “classic scapegoating.”
“If someone wants to break the law, whether it be military or civilian law, there is very little someone in General Shadley’s position can do to personally stop them,” the congressman said in a prepared statement.
Ehrlich, whose district includes the military base, said Shadley is one reason that the sexual harassment cases involving drill instructors at Aberdeen came to light.
“To me, it seems unconscionable that the man who brought this situation to the world’s attention, who worked tirelessly to ensure that these events do not reoccur, should become the ultimate fall guy,” Ehrlich said.
Twelve Aberdeen instructors have been charged with sexual misconduct. One drill sergeant has been convicted of rape.
Ehrlich also cited comments from Shadley’s commanding officer, Gen. William Hartzog, who has said that the Aberdeen commander should be cleared.
Shadley was transferred to another assignment in Atlanta in June.
In a prepared statement Friday, Shadly said he accepted responsible for the incidents while he was commanding at Aberdeen, but did not say whether he would contest the reprimand.
While the official citation has not been issued yet, the Army has set the wheels in motion to issue a reprimand that will say Shadley failed in his command responsibilities to prevent sexual misconduct at Aberdeen.
An Army spokesman said there was “no response” to the congressman’s comments.
The final decision whether to issue the formal reprimand rests with the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. William Crouch.