Head of Utah National Guard, on paid leave, denies having improper relationship

Aug 19, 2023, 10:30 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Despite the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency concluding an investigation into the head of the Utah National Guard and finding the allegations substantiated, Maj. Gen. Michael Turley said in a statement to KSL Friday afternoon, “I do deny any allegations of an improper relationship.”

Turley also said he had not been provided any report by the government to review and he would be making decisions about future steps after he is able to review the report. His comments to KSL

come a day after Gov. Spencer Cox placed Turley on paid-administrative leave.

Governor Cox said in a statement Thursday that he also had not received a copy of the Inspector General’s report but placing Turley on leave was based on information conveyed to the Governor by the department.

Strictly Prohibited

The details of the specific allegations made or the nature of any alleged improper relationship involving Turley have not been made public. However several former military leaders told KSL adultery and fraternization are strictly prohibited and considered criminal acts under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

“This is serious misconduct,” said Don Christensen, a retired Air Force colonel who spent decades as the chief prosecutor for the United States Air Force. “It’s misconduct that erodes good order and discipline.”

Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton lead the Utah National Guard for the eight years before Turley took command. He told KSL the military lives by standards that are arguably stricter than those in the civilian sector.

“We’re held to a higher standard and especially when you’re in a position of authority, you cannot and should not interact in that way with a subordinate, who may or may not feel pressured into that kind of situation.”

Next Steps

Gov. Cox called on Brig. Gen. Daniel Boyack to step in as Interim Adjutant General and immediately assume command of the Utah National Guard after placing Turley on leave. In an email sent to members of the guard, officials said Boyack would serve until a permanent selection is made. The email went on to say, “We expect a permanent appointment within the next month.”

An investigation by the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency and its finding of substantiated allegations is not the end of the process involving Turley. Christensen said Turley will have an opportunity to rebut anything in the report before everything is taken into consideration and a potential punishment is issued.

“He’s going to have due process rights through that as the decision is made what to do with him, how to address this. He’ll have due process rights. It could drag out a while,” he said. “It could take quite a while before he’s actually forced to retire, which I’m guessing is what the ultimate result of this will be.”

Christensen noted other possible punishments include a reprimand, Article 15 punishment, or even a court-martial, a proceeding for members of the military that can ultimately result in reduced rank or a financial penalty.

“Based on my experience, what I would expect is that he’d receive some type of reprimand and then be retired,” Christensen said.

The Findings

Turley himself, Gov. Cox, and other National Guard leadership have all said they have not seen the report with the DAIG’s findings.

“I believe the governor needs access to this report because he’s the one who appoints that individual and he’s the one who has to adjudicate and decide what he’s going to do moving forward,” said Burton.

He indicated due to privacy restrictions regarding DAIG investigations, it’s likely that Gov. Cox may need to request a copy of the report through a government Freedom of Information Act request. Something Burton says shouldn’t be the case.

“The system needs maybe another look to allow him to have that sooner so that he can do what he needs to do.”

KSL submitted a FOIA request for the report on Thursday. In a response to our request Friday, the Army IG Records Release Office said “The approximate date of completion on your request is August 17, 2024, or it could take longer.”

Lingering Questions

Maj. Gen. Turley was on hand with Governor Cox to greet President Biden as he arrived in Utah last week. In February he attended President Biden’s State of the Union address as a guest of Sen. Mitt Romney. When asked about when Gov. Cox and Sen. Romney first learned of the allegations or investigation into Turley, neither Cox nor Romney’s spokespeople would answer that question. Romney’s office saying instead, “The Senator was not aware at the time of the SOTU.”

KSL has had no response to its inquiry from Cox’s office.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Local (New)

SALT LAKE CITY -- Inmates in one housing unit at the Utah State Correctional Facility were quaranti...

Dan Bammes

Housing unit quarantined after scabies outbreak at state correctional facility

57 inmates were affected after a breakout of scabies in a housing unit at the Utah State Correctional Facility.

5 days ago

Image of traffic moving near construction zones in Utah....


Construction to cause delays on I-215 in SLC this weekend

Those heading out this weekend may run into traffic delays due to construction on Interstate 215.

6 days ago

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — The CEO of a non-profit group dedicated to helping those affected by human t...


Exitus CEO arrested for allegedly faking nursing credentials and misleading investors

The CEO of a non-profit group dedicated to helping those affected by human trafficking was arrested on Friday for over 30 fraud-related charges.

12 days ago

SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d...


Church President Russell M. Nelson celebrates 99th birthday on 9/9

President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is celebrating his 99th birthday on Saturday. Church President Russell M. Nelson celebrates 99th birthday on 9/9

20 days ago

SALT LAKE CITY — The Japanese Church of Christ honored the local Japanese community and shared...

Gabrielle Shiozawa, KSL.com

‘Sharing our culture’: Utahns celebrate Japanese Church of Christ’s first-ever summer festival

The Japanese Church of Christ in Salt Lake honored the local Japanese community and shared its culture with other Utahns at its first-ever summer festival, Natsu Matsuri.

1 month ago

LOGAN — A Utah State University grad has settled his lawsuit against the university involving al...

Gabrielle Shiozawa, KSL.com

USU grad settles racism lawsuit for $45K

Utah State University grad Gregory Noel has settled a lawsuit against the university involving allegations of racist treatment by a professor and what he saw as an inadequate response by USU for $45,000.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Head of Utah National Guard, on paid leave, denies having improper relationship