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Hale Sentence Draws Fire

Major General David Hale got far less than a full court-martial. Instead, he got a sentence including $22,000 in fines and a reprimand.

The retired two-star general pleaded guilty to having sex with the wives of subordinates. The result of the trial could have been a decade in prison.

But before his sentencing, the teary-eyed general took the stand and begged forgiveness, reports Correspondent Todd Pottinger of CBS Affiliate KIRO-TV in Seattle.

In a broken voice he said, "The disgrace I have brought upon my name is almost more than I can bear and I cannot adequately express the pain IÂ've caused the service and my family.Â"

Then he made a plea to the officers whose wives he had relationships with, saying, "I hope they find it in their hearts to forgive me."

After the sentencing, some of the husbands involved in this case finally had the chance to speak publicly about the general's crimes.

Â"[HaleÂ's] actions are not indicative of the actions and morals that we live by every day,Â" said one husband.

Many are calling HaleÂ's sentence a slap on the wrist. One military wife thinks itÂ's a different slap.

Â"I think thatÂ's a slap in the face to the guys out here making marriages work,Â" she said.

Hale will keep his rank as a retired two-star general. And, after he finishes paying his fines, he will also keep his full pension, which is $6,300 a month.

The allegations against Hale surfaced in 1998 when The Washington Times reported that a woman named Donnamaria Carpino Madden had accused Hale of forcing her into a four-month sexual relationship.

Hale retired abruptly in the midst of the highly publicized sexual misconduct court-martial of Gene McKinney, former sergeant major of the army and the service's highest-ranking enlisted man.

McKinney was acquitted of sexual misconduct charges, but the decision to allow Hale's retirement opened the Army to criticism that it applied a double standard, favoring commissioned officers over its enlisted men.