Air Force General Quits over Handling of Rape Case

kyolshin/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin is grounding himself after making a questionable decision regarding a rape case.

Criticized for overturning the rape conviction of Lt. Col. James Wilkerson last February, Franklin announced on Wednesday he is leaving the Air Force because he'll face heavy public scrutiny with every case of sexual assault brought to him.

The general, who commands the Third Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force based in Germany, previously said his reason for dismissing Wilkerson's rape conviction was because the colonel is a good husband and father.

That rationale was a major reason why Congress is seeking to reform the military justice system, particularly when dealing in cases of sex assault.

Franklin's resignation had been demanded by Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is sponsoring a bill for greater oversight of commanders in prosecuting cases.

McCaskill said on Wednesday that the general's "handling of sexual assault cases is the best possible illustration of why civilian review, elimination of commanders' ability to overturn convictions, and so many other protections are included in our recent defense bill."

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