Iowa Army investigates officer over explicit emails

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- An Army captain has been relieved of his command because of sexually explicit emails he exchanged with former Des Moines school superintendent Nancy Sebring.

The Des Moines Register reported Sunday that the Army's recruiting division is investigating 42-year-old Capt. John Hintz's conduct and whether he sent any of the emails from his military account. Hintz had been leading the Army's recruiting efforts in the Des Moines area.

Army spokesman John Largent said this type of conduct doesn't uphold Army values, but he declined to comment on the details of the investigation.

"The U.S. Army takes all of the allegations seriously. That's why the investigation is going on, to look into details and to find out what the exact truth is about everything," Largent told the Register.

Sebring abruptly resigned from the Des Moines district on May 10. She was to start as the superintendent in Omaha, Neb., on July 1. But she resigned from that position in early June, six weeks after accepting the job and after reports of the email exchanges appeared in The Des Moines Register and the Omaha World-Herald.

Last month, Hintz and Sebring sought unsuccessfully to block the release of more emails that identified Hintz as her lover. Hintz said in a written statement to the court that if his identity were made public, it would be devastating to his personal and professional lives.

Hintz exchanged a number of emails with Sebring in April and May discussing their six-week affair. Hintz is married with two children. Sebring is married, but the 57-year-old has been separated from her husband, who lives in Colorado.

Sebring and Hintz first met through his work as a recruiter. The initial emails they exchanged related to a school fitness event Hintz helped organize. Hintz also spoke at Des Moines schools during at least two assemblies since he became the area's top recruiter in January.

Hintz served in the Army for 14 years and had a distinguished record. He had received the Army Commendation Medal with special recognition for valor, the General MacArthur Leadership Award and three Purple Hearts.

Hintz's unit, part of the 101st Airborne Division, was featured on CBS' "60 Minutes" during combat in Afghanistan two years ago. The mountain outpost Hintz commanded was shelled heavily by insurgents.

Stephen Kelly, a Massachusetts lawyer who defends members of the military, said Hintz's career could be in trouble if a reprimand is added to his permanent record. He said such an action can kill an officer's career, because they are supposed to set examples of good behavior.

Published: Tue, Jul 10, 2012

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