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Misconduct by Colonel Is Alleged

June 12, 2003|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army said Wednesday it was investigating a 50-year-old colonel who allegedly proposed marriage to dozens of women he contacted using Internet dating services.

Col. Kassem Saleh, a married man derisively referred to as "Kassanova" by some of the American and Canadian women he allegedly wooed on the Web, met many of them through an Internet site that arranges dates for tall men and women.

Saleh recently led reconstruction and humanitarian efforts for the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan and now is stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina.

"There is an investigation underway. The command is aware of the allegation against Col. Saleh," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fletcher, a spokesman for the Army's 18th Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg.

Fletcher said it was unclear what possible violations of the law or military rules Saleh may have committed, even if the allegations are true.

"We've got to wait for the investigation to be completed to see if there is any truth to the allegations. Right now, it's just their word against his," Fletcher said.

Some of the women are demanding that the Army bring Saleh before a court-martial.

The New York Times on Wednesday quoted some of the women as saying Saleh used the Internet from 1998 until earlier this year to romance at least 50 women ages 33 to 57 from numerous U.S. states and Canada.

The newspaper reported that one woman said the colonel called himself the "Warrior Monk" because he had not had sex in a decade while awaiting the perfect mate.

The women said Saleh met them using Internet dating sites, including one for tall persons that boasts, "When it comes to love, dating and romance on the Internet, we think you are going to be pleasantly surprised and very happy you found Tall Personals!"

The Times quoted women who had seen Saleh as saying he was about 5 feet 10 inches tall.

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