MIAMI – A general Wednesday threw out the reprimand received by Muslim Army chaplain Capt. James Yee (search) for committing adultery and downloading pornography.
Yee was once embroiled in an investigation of suspected espionage at the Guantanamo Bay (search) detention center in Cuba, where the military is holding suspected Muslim terrorists. But Yee was ultimately prosecuted on far less serious charges.
Yee contested the reprimand, and Gen. James T. Hill, commander of the U.S. Southern Command (search), ruled in his favor. Hill decided that the punishment will not go on Yee's military record.
"While I believe that Chaplain Yee's misconduct was wrong, I do not believe, given the extreme notoriety of his case in the news media, that further stigmatizing Chaplain Yee would serve a just and fair purpose," Hill said, describing his decision as "one of mercy, not necessarily law."
Yee's attorney, Eugene Fidell, called the dismissal a "bittersweet victory."
"It wouldn't have killed them to admit a mistake," he said. "The Army has to be big enough to admit a mistake. In that regard, today was disappointing."
Yee, 35, spent 76 days in custody after the military linked him to the possible espionage ring. Last month, the Army dismissed all criminal charges, but Yee was found guilty of the non-criminal violations of adultery and downloading porn.