Two former recruiters have been charged with engaging in unlawful sexual acts with future sailors, according to charge sheets released to Navy Times.
“The Navy takes these issues very seriously and categorically does not condone the alleged behavior; that behavior simply has no place in our military or society, and it does not comport with our core values,” Cmdr. Lara Bollinger, spokeswoman for Navy Recruiting Command, said.
“Our recruiters are required to uphold the highest standards. Navy Recruiting Command takes any allegation of recruiter sexual misconduct seriously and ensures that each allegation is fully investigated. If an allegation is substantiated, Navy Recruiting Command takes all appropriate measures to hold the responsible sailor accountable.”
Chief Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic Rondell L. Bethelmy, 40, is charged with two counts of failing to obey a lawful general order.
According to charge sheets, Bethelmy engaged in sexual activities with and sent sexually explicit photos to a recruit in Aurora, Colorado, in April 2017.
The victim’s name, a current sailor, is redacted on charge sheets obtained by Navy Times.
Bethelmy is currently assigned to the guided-missile destroyer Nitze, which is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.
His special court martial trial is scheduled to begin there on Nov. 21.
“GSMC Bethelmy is a 19-year Navy veteran with an outstanding service record,” said his civilian defense attorney, Brian Pristera, in a Tuesday email to Navy Times. "The Government and the Defense have found an agreeable disposition to resolve this case in a manner commensurate with the seriousness of the offenses.”
According to a Navy biography, Bethelmy enlisted in September 2000 and was assigned to the Denver-based Navy Talent Acquisition Group-Rocky Mountain from September 2014 through January 2018.
Cmdr. John W. House was fired as head of Navy Recruiting District Michigan in January.
Bethelmy’s trial comes amid the case of another sailor also accused of a similar crime.
Investigators suspect Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Jammar Starks engaged in sex acts with a “future sailor” attached to Navy Recruiting District Dallas while in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in March 2015, according to charge sheets.
He also faces a charge that he violated a general order.
Bollinger confirmed that Starks and Bethelmy had served as recruiters at the time of the alleged incidents.
Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, said Starks’ case has been continued with no trial date currently scheduled.
Starks enlisted in February 2008 and was assigned to the Dallas recruiting district from May 2014 through May 2017, according to a Navy biography. He has been assigned to the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman since August 2017.
He didn’t return messages from Navy Times.
Navy Times editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from attorney Brian Pristera. The headline also has been changed to better reflect the charges against both defendants.
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