A Camp Pendleton-based Marine has been charged with sexual assault after a 14-year-old girl was found in his barracks in June, the military announced on Friday.
The unidentified Marine has been formally charged with sexual assault. The Marine has also been charged by military prosecutors with violating liberty restrictions in an unrelated case. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 17, Capt. Charles Palmer, spokesman for the 1st Marine Logistics Group, said in a statement.
“After the preliminary hearing, the command will review all charges and evidence to determine whether the case should be tried by court-martial. To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation and the rights of the subject, further information is unavailable until this decision is made,” the statement continued. “As a reminder, charges remain allegations, and all service members are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”
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The 14-year-old went missing on June 10 — family reported the minor missing on June 13 with the grandmother telling authorities the girl had run away from home. She was found by military police inside the Marine’s barracks on the Southern California base more than two weeks later on June 28. The local Sheriff’s Department reunited the minor with her family.
The Marine’s name has not been released by the military, but he is serving with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group. Naval Criminal Investigative Service questioned the Marine after the minor was found in the barracks, but released him after. NCIS has been investigating the matter since, with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department assisting.
The girl’s aunt has claimed on social media that the minor was the victim of sex trafficking.
Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story reported the Marine had been charged with sexual assault in an unrelated case.
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