The inspector general's report suggests that investigators originally suspected the general of consorting with prostitutes and strippers while accompanying Carter on official visits to Rome and Seoul a year ago. Gen. Lewis and removed him as my Senior Military Assistant, I expect the highest possible standards of conduct from the men and women in this department particularly from those serving in the most senior positions. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the report before its release. The bar was off-limits to US military personnel.
In Seoul, the report said, Lewis spent more than $1120 one night in April 2015 at the Candy Bar, which had been deemed off limits by military authorities.
Investigators said Lewis, a married father of two, also had acted inappropriately with female colleagues on several occasions.
Carter unexpectedly removed Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Lewis from his post in November for unspecified "misconduct" and ordered the Defense Department inspector general to investigate.
Upon returning from his trip to South Korea, Pentagon staff members noticed charges made to "Candy" on Lewis' government credit card while helping him file a travel voucher.
Carter issued a statement Thursday saying he was briefed on the investigation but would defer comment pending an Army review. After that, she made sure someone accompanied her whenever she had to report to Lewis' room. Some of the general's supporters said Mr. Carter's decision was an overreaction, and they cited other senior generals who remained in their jobs while facing inspector general investigations.
Army spokesman Col. Pat Seiber issued a statement: "The Army only recently received the DoD IG investigation regarding Maj".
Lewis told investigators that he danced and drank with local women for three hours and tried to pay the $1,755.98 bill with his personal debit card, but it wasn't accepted. He added that he paid back the money when he returned to the US.
Lewis has insisted the venue was not a strip club.
In Rome, he acknowledged visiting a dance club, but that it wasn't "Cica Cica Boom", but rather "a high-end establishment with a respectable clientele".
A photo of Cica Cica Boom shows a sign above the doorway that advertises lap dances. He was transferred to serve as a special assistant to Lieutenant General James McConville, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel matters, and demoted in rank to a two-star general. He became Carter's senior military assistant in June 2015, a job that brought a promotion to lieutenant general, a rank he lost when he was sacked.
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The Pentagon probe found also found that Lewis frequented the Candy Bar in Seoul, South Korea, in an area known as "Hooker Hill". Lewis said he did not go there, but did go to a commercial area of Seoul.
According to the report, Lewis subsequently denied using the card at the establishment and disputed the charges to the bank.
He denied he had visited the Candy Bar club and that he filed false paperwork to Citibank, and he said the investigation mischaracterized his relationship with the senior female enlisted service member in Hawaii. Both receipts show only a short pen mark in the signature area, and do not show his written name.
The report says investigators, after getting Lewis' rebuttal, went back to check their information, and said they stand by their findings.
The report paints a broad picture of a senior officer who often went out alone on overseas trips, and who drank in excess in some instances.
Lewis woke her to get the card while his escort waited outside the room, which was down the hall from where Carter was staying, the report said.
The enlisted soldier told investigators that Lewis later backed her against a wall in his room and that she thought he wanted to kiss her, so she left.
During a November 2015 trip to Malaysia and Hawaii the report found Lewis "engaged in physical contact with female subordinates observed by witnesses where the contact was not incidental or innocuous". The other staffers told the IG that they were uncomfortable with the situation, which the witnesses described as "arms around each other", "questionable behavior", "extremely intimate", "chummy," and "did not seem innocent". There, the report said, Lewis ran up a $1755.98 bill while dancing with women and drinking to "more than moderation". And Lewis, in his rebuttal, criticizes the report for relying on insinuations and statements from people who may have distorted the facts or didn't actually see what happened.
The inspector general's office has given its report to the Army, where senior leaders will decide whether to discipline Lewis.