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Trial date set for retired Army general charged in Virginia rape case

Retired Maj. Gen. James J. Grazioplene, seen here as a one-star general, faces trial on multiple charges. (Handout courtesy of the U.S. Army)

A retired Army general will face trial in Virginia on charges of rape and incest beginning in April, according to court documents filed in the case.

James J. Grazioplene, a retired two-star officer, was charged by a grand jury in December with three counts of rape and three counts of incest in Prince William General District Court. A Feb. 1 pretrial hearing has been set, with the trial scheduled to begin April 29.

The Army was planning to court-martial Grazioplene, 69, in the spring of 2018, but the charges were dismissed in March after a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in another case effectively limited the statute of limitations in the case to five years. Army investigators focused on accusations from 1983 to 1989, while authorities in Virginia are focused on a period from 1988 to 1989 when Grazioplene lived in Virginia.

Legislation passed by Congress in 2006 says rape cases have no statute of limitations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but cases from before then are subject to the laws at the time of the alleged crime.

Grazioplene's case was the subject of a Washington Post story in which the general's daughter, Jennifer M. Elmore, 47, detailed years of abuse accusations against him that spanned numerous military assignments and locations. Five other people, including one of Grazioplene's sisters, corroborated aspects of her story.

The Post generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but did so in this case after Elmore said she wanted to tell her story. She first reported the allegations to the Army in 2015, prompting a lengthy investigation.

"Sometimes, it's just easier to shut your mouth," she said earlier this year. "But if I stay silent and the next person opts for that, and the next person opts for that, and the next person opts for that, where are we?"

A lawyer for Elmore, Ryan Guilds, declined to comment on the status of the case.

Lawyers for Grazioplene did not respond to a request for comment. He has denied the accusations.

“I will not comment,” Grazioplene said in a Sept. 6 phone call. “The charges are false and incorrect. Nope.”