A Virginia-based Navy officer is facing a court-martial trial for allegedly making “nonconsensual sexual contact” with a sailor and a soldier, according to Navy charge sheets.

Ensign Merritt D. Hale is accused of touching a sailor’s breast in Leesburg, Virginia, on March 17, 2018, charge sheets state.

Military prosecutors also allege he kissed the neck of a soldier and touched the buttocks of at least one other victim on the same day, according to charge sheets.

All told, Hale faces four specifications of abusive sexual contact and four specifications of assault consummated by a battery. The specifications fall under Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice outlawing sexual assault.

Because the names of the alleged victims are redacted in the records provided to Navy Times, it remains unclear exactly how many people Hale is accused of unlawfully touching or what their genders might be.

Hale’s civilian criminal defense attorney, Eric Leckie, did not return repeated requests for comment.

No trial date has been set, according to Navy Region Mid-Atlantic officials.

Hale received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Virginia in 2016, according to service records.

Originally from Virginia, he has been a student at the Information Warfare Training Command in Virginia Beach since late 2017.

He also studied at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina, from September 2016 to November 2016, service records show.

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 geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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