FORT MEADE, Md. — A retired major general will face a court-martial on charges that he raped a child over a six-year period while on active duty in the 1980s.

The U.S. Army said in a statement Wednesday that James J. Grazioplene will be assigned a military judge. A date will then be set for Grazioplene’s trial.

The 68-year-old from Gainesville, Virginia, faces a maximum punishment of forfeiture of pay and confinement for life.

A preliminary hearing to review the evidence against Grazioplene was held in August in Maryland. Grazioplene’s attorney, Thomas Pavlinic, said by email Wednesday that the court-martial referral on all charges was an “utter surprise.” He said it was inconsistent with a military judge’s recommendations following the August hearing.

The Army did not respond to a request for the judge’s ruling.