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Navy chief facing multiple sex crime charges in Norfolk

The military is prosecuting a Navy chief in Norfolk on multiple sex crime charges, including an alleged rape that triggered an international incident in Ireland.

Chief Intelligence Specialist Ray D. Braimer has been charged with tugging down a fellow sailor’s leggings and underwear and raping her while she resisted on March 22, 2017, inside a Dublin hotel during a liberty visit by the guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook to the southern Irish port of Cobh.

Prosecutors further claim that Braimer unlawfully crawled into the bed of female sailor in Ireland on the same date and tried to kiss her without her consent.

Also on the same day, he allegedly sexually harassed a fellow sailor by telling her she was beautiful and inviting her to his room and “stating that he hates the fraternization policy of the Navy that prevents him from being with any woman he found attractive because of pay grade,” according to redacted charge sheets released to Navy Times.

Braimer also faces an abusive sexual contact charge for allegedly rubbing the knee of a female sailor in Souda Bay, Greece, three months earlier.

Because of the charge sheet’s redacted passages, it’s impossible to determine if the alleged victims were multiple women or the same sailor.

Both Navy officials and Braimer declined comment and the chief did not return multiple telephone and social media messages left for him by Navy Times.

Braimer was arrested by the Gardaí — the Irish police — in the morning after the alleged sexual assault and he was accused of violating Section Four of Ireland’s Criminal Justice Act of 1984.

The female sailor was taken to a local hospital where she provided a sexual assault evidence kit and made a statement to Irish police, who were joined in the investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents.

In the wake of Braimer’s arrest, the American embassy in Dublin issued a statement that Navy officials were cooperating fully with Irish authorities and expressed the “deep respect and gratitude to the people of Ireland for the personal friendship that they have extended” to visiting service members.

Irish authorities later surrendered jurisdiction to the Navy.

A Tuesday hearing in Braimer’s court-martial case has been postponed and no trial date has been set.

A member of the crew of the Norfolk-based destroyer Gonzalez since early 2016, Braimer was temporarily assigned to the Donald Cook when the alleged crimes occurred. It’s forward deployed to Rota, Spain.

Originally from Texas, Braimer enlisted in the Navy in 1998 and has served aboard the amphibious warships Wasp and Nashville as well as the cruiser Normandy and the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman.

His personal awards include four Good Conduct Medals and six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. He became a chief on Jan. 16, 2013.

Braimer is one of several sailors facing court-martial proceedings in Norfolk.

Hospitalman 3rd Class Julian Margar Mendietarindy, assigned to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, is accused of raping a woman at or near the Marine base on Oct. 2, 2016, according to military court filings.

Mendietarindy also has been charged with groping a female sailor there on Oct. 17, 2016.

Mendietarindy drew a charge of willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer for allegedly violating a no-contact order on Feb. 13, 2017.

He’s slated to be arraigned in Norfolk on Thursday.

Originally from Ohio, Mendietarindy enlisted in the Navy in 2014.

Operations Special 2nd Class Jacqueline Villegas, once part of the “Gladiators" of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 at Naval Air Station Oceana, is accused of stealing money from the unit’s auxiliary resale outlet.

Although she was supposed to deposit the funds, she allegedly pocketed the proceeds on multiple occasions between June and October of 2016.

She was detached from the squadron on July 1, 2017. Her court-martial trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 6.

Villegas enlisted in the Navy in 2013 and has served aboard the destroyer Bulkeley.

Both their commands and Villegas and Mendietarindy declined comment.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Gladiators of Strike Fighter Squadron on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. (Navy)
An F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Gladiators of Strike Fighter Squadron on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. (Navy)

Another sailor was acquitted on Aug. 1.

Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Jade Antoine McLennon of the amphibious warship Mesa Verde had been charged with recklessly firing a pistol five times into the air on May 14, 2016, in a public place in Chesapeake, actions authorities argued endangered others and brought discredit upon the armed forces.

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