A Navy chief lost his anchors after pleading guilty to charges that he engaged in an unlawful act and exchanged explicit photos with a recruit.
Navy Judge Capt. Michael Luken also sentenced former Chief Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic Rondell L. Bethelmy to 15 days in the brig and another 30 days restricted to the guided missile-destroyer Nitze, according to Naval Surface Force Atlantic spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Richlyn C. Ivey.
Bethelmy, 40, pleaded guilty Thursday during a court-martial hearing at Naval Station Norfolk to two counts that he failed to obey a lawful general order when he engaged in unlawful acts and sent explicit sexual photos to a recruit in Aurora, Colorado, in April 2017.
Bethelmy worked at the Denver-based Navy Talent Acquisition Group-Rocky Mountain from September 2014 through January 2018, according to a Navy biography.
Bethelmy’s civilian defense attorney, Brian Pristera, said his client’s misconduct was limited to a kiss “once on the lips” and that he touched the woman’s thigh with his hand.
“Prior to that encounter, they had engaged in conversation and exchanged photographs of each other over a digital messaging application,” Pristera said in an email to Navy Times.
During Thursday’s hearing, Bethelmy “accepted full responsibility for his actions," and was supported by family and several current and former sailors, Pristera said.
“He acknowledged his lapse in judgment and profusely apologized for what amounted to a single mistake over an otherwise outstanding 19-plus-year career,” Pristera said.
Courtney Mabeus is a senior writer at Navy Times. Mabeus previously covered the military for The Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk, Va., where she first set foot on an aircraft carrier.