Amorous Army Officer Apologizes

US Army Col. Kassem Saleh is shown in a July 3, 2002, file photo. Army commanders said Wednesday, June 11, 2003, they are investigating allegations that he proposed to dozens of women in the United States and Canada after meeting them through Internet dating services. Saleh scrapes samples of dried blood from the roof of a house in Deh Rawod, in Afghanistan, at a site where 40 people were reportedly killed and about 100 wounded in a pre-dawn U.S. raid. AP

Through his lawyer, an Army officer accused of proposing to dozens of women has apologized for his behavior, but at least one of his alleged victims say that's not enough.

Col. Kassem Saleh, stationed at Fort Bragg, is under investigation by the Army over allegations that he simultaneously romanced dozens of women on the Internet and by phone and proposed to them. But Saleh's lawyer said about 30 women are conspiring to unfairly get him kicked out of the Army.

"He is sincerely apologetic," Fayetteville lawyer Mark Waple told The New York Times in a story Saturday. "He didn't intend to harm them in any way. But enough is enough."

Waple didn't return a phone call Saturday from The Associated Press.

Saleh, 50, has been in the Army for 29 years and is the primary staff officer for the civil affairs section of the 18th Airborne Corps. He returned to Fort Bragg in May after leading reconstruction and humanitarian operations in Afghanistan.

The Times reported earlier that Saleh had been in contact with and proposed to women from throughout the United States and Canada. The newspaper said he met the women through various Internet personals sites.

Robin Solod of New York, one of the women allegedly duped by Saleh, said of his apology: "It's too little too late. That's definitely not sufficient for the betrayal, the deceit. He stole my heart."

Waple said he did not believe Saleh had committed a crime.

"Although hurting someone's feelings is not a good idea, it's not a crime," he said.

Waple said the women have mobilized into an "Operation Bring Kass Down" and, in some cases, are exaggerating the details to gain attention or attract movie or book deals.

Saleh, who has declined to be interviewed, is at worst guilty of a technical violation of Army regulations regarding conduct unbecoming of an officer, according to Waple.

Waple said Saleh had been separated from his wife since 1998 and that the two planned to divorce.

  • Francie Grace

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