WASHINGTON — The Air Force commander whose decision to overturn a sexual assault conviction led to major changes in military policy has decided to retire.

Air Force officials said Wednesday that Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin was retiring after more than 32 years.

Franklin reversed the conviction of Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, who had been found guilty of charges of abusive sexual contact, aggravated sexual assault and three instances of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. The incident involved a civilian employee.

Wilkerson was sentenced to a year in prison and dismissal from the service, but after a review of the case Franklin overturned the conviction.

The move disclosed last year infuriated lawmakers who changed the law, stripping commanders of the authority to reverse criminal convictions in assault cases.