Four Navy petty officers at a Washington state submarine base are accused of sex crimes involving a child, according to charge sheets and Navy officials.
The Sept. 19, 2017, incident allegedly occurred in the barracks of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, the main sub base in the Pacific Northwest.
The alleged victim was reportedly less than 16-years-old but more than 12 and all the sailors were 3rd class petty officers assigned to submarine commands.
Investigators allege that the four sailors discussed having group sex with the girl at a smoke pit and then went to a barracks room where lewd acts occurred “with the door open, and with open recording of the group sex using photography and video equipment,” according to the charge sheets.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service began investigating the allegations after an anonymous tip reached Naval Base Kitsap authorities on Sept. 26, 2017, according to Cmdr. Michael Smith, a spokesman for Submarine Group 9.
How the girl got onto base will be determined by an ongoing investigation, NCIS spokesman Ed Buice added.
Article 32 hearings designed to sift through the evidence and determine whether the four sailors should go to court-martial were held this week.
Smith said that the hearing officer typically takes 10 days to make a recommendation on charges to the sub group’s commanding officer.
Unless a court-martial is convened, the names of the sailors will remain redacted on legal filings provided to Navy Times.
“The accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Smith said.
One sailor assigned to the ballistic missile submarine Nebraska faces charges for failing to report the offense and for committing a sexual act upon a child between Sept. 19, 2017, and Sept. 21, 2017, as well as for letting a non-family member to stay in his room overnight, according to the sheets.
One sailor charged with producing child pornography is assigned to the submarine Henry M. Jackson, his charge sheets show.
Another sailor facing child pornography production charges serves in the Naval Submarine Support Center Bangor.
The fourth defendant is assigned to the Nebraska.
No one else has been charged or is expected to be charged in the case, Smith said.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.