WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Army's sex scandal officially reached the highest ranks of enlisted men when the service charged Sergeant Major Gene McKinney with sexual misconduct and indecent assault involving four women. TIME's Mark Thompson says the charges are especially damaging to the morale of a service already racked by the conviction of Delmar Simpson in the Aberdeen sex scandal: "As a senior enlisted man, his power flows from the fact that he is supposed to be a role model in the Army." McKinney, who was removed in February from a panel probing incidents of sexual misconduct and then suspended after a female subordinate accused him of sexual harassment, was charged with adultery, making threats and obstruction of justice. A defiant McKinney vehemently denied the accusations. "I want the American people to know that I have not done any of these things . . . I believe in respecting the dignity of all people." McKinney's lawyer, Charles Gittins, added McKinney will fight the charges, even if the military's process against him goes to court-martial. Thompson says that McKinney's high rank could work against him in military court. "McKinney is not allowed to make a single mistake, unlike lower ranking people. So military justice, such as it is, would come down on him much tougher than a lower ranking enlisted man."