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Navy fires squadron CO accused of trying to sexually assault female officer

A week after his arrest on charges of attempting to rape a fellow Navy officer in San Diego, the commanding officer of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 has been removed from his post, according to a Naval Air Forces spokeswoman.

Cmdr. John Neuhart was ousted from command Monday, the same day Neuhart was due in a San Diego court room. Neuhart was arraigned on charges of assault with intent to commit rape, attempted forcible rape, first-degree burglary, resisting an officer, according to the San Diego County district attorney's office.

"The decision to relieve was based on actions taken by Cmdr. Neuhart that demonstrated a lack of good judgment and professionalism, calling into question his leadership and undermining his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command," Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, an AIRFOR spokeswoman, told Navy Times.

Neuhart pleaded not guilty to his charges Monday, according to a representative for the San Diego District Attorney.

He faces up to seven years, four months' prison time if convicted, Tanya Sierra told Navy Times. The court also issued a "stay away" order for the alleged victim.

The Guam-based skipper was in town for a conference, according to a report on his arrest obtained by Navy Times, when he went home with the junior officer. It was her screams at around 3 a.m. that caught the attention of a neighbor, who called the police.

Neuhart, 39, posted $100,000 bail on Sept. 13.

Capt. Kevin Kennedy, the deputy commander of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, has been serving as HSC-25's CO since Sept. 15.

Neuhart's next court date is scheduled for Oct. 19.

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