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Former space wing vice commander, facing rape and assault charges, found dead

Col. Eugene Caughey, the former vice commander of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado, who was awaiting court-martial on rape and assault  charges, was found dead at his home early Sunday morning.

Sgt. Tim Stankey, the spokesman for the Colorado Springs Police Department, said officers were dispatched after receiving a report of an apparent suicide. Stankey said investigators are waiting for information from the coroner to help determine the cause of Caughey's death, but that there is no indication his death was a homicide.

Caughey's court-martial was scheduled to begin Oct. 17. Last December, he was charged with rape and assault for allegedly using "unlawful force" to hold a victim "against the wall and floor" while committing a sexual act in late 2014 or early 2015, according to his charge sheet. Prosecutors allege Caughey also committed multiple acts of misconduct dating back to 2013, including taking pictures of his genitals while in uniform, as well as unlawfully groping women on two occasions.

He was removed as vice commander of the space wing in June 2015, after the investigation began. Caughey also faced charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and at least six counts of adultery.

Caughey faced life sentences for the rape charges, as well as up to 12 years in prison for the adultery charges.

In June, Caughey's attorney argued that his adultery charges should be thrown out, because the Uniform Code of Military Justice defines adultery as an act between a man and a woman. This, his attorney argued, meant the law only applied to heterosexuals and was therefore biased.

Caughey joined the Air Force in 1993.

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