West News Wire: Following the June discovery of a missing 14-year-old girl at the base barracks, an unnamed U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, was charged with sexually assaulting a minor, according to officials.
According to Capt. Charles Palmer of the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, “military prosecutors have charged the Marine with allegations of sexual assault of a minor and violating liberty restriction from a prior, unrelated case.”
The command, according to Palmer, set a preliminary hearing for August 17 at Camp Pendleton.
Palmer explained that the command will assess the accusations and supporting documentation following the preliminary hearing to decide whether a court-martial was necessary.
“To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation and the rights of the subject, further information is unavailable until this decision is made,” he added. “As a reminder, charges remain allegations, and all service members are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”
After being questioned by detectives from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in July in response to the finding of a missing 14-year-old girl on June 28 at a barracks at Camp Pendleton, the unnamed Marine had been freed. According to family relatives, the girl went missing on June 10.
In social media posts, the 14-year-old’s family claimed that a Marine had sexually raped the child at the base.
The Marine’s identity was not made public on Friday, but a Marine had previously been recognised as being a member of the Camp Pendleton-based Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
Palmer had also confirmed that the Marine was the male shown in a video posted on social media which showed a Marine in handcuffs being escorted by military police outside of a barracks at the base.