A Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion 5 was questioned and released back to his command last month after an underage girl was found in his room at Camp Pendleton, California, said Capt. Charles Palmer, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Logistics Group.
Palmer confirmed that the Marine has been accused by a woman of sexually assaulting her niece, who went missing on June 10 and was later found at Camp Pendleton.
“This command takes this matter and all allegations very seriously,” Palmer said. “The incident is under investigation, and we will continue to cooperate with NCIS [Naval Criminal Investigative Service] and appropriate authorities.”
Palmer also said the Privacy Act prevented him from releasing the name of the Marine, who has so far not been charged with a crime.
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No information has been officially released about how the girl was discovered at Camp Pendleton. But an anonymous Instagram account posted a picture that purportedly shows the logbook entries from the Pendleton dorm noting that a Marine and sailor had found the girl in a Marine’s room.
The account also showed a picture that appears to show Marine Corps police leading away a man in handcuffs.
Task & Purpose has confirmed that the images shared on Instagram are authentic.
Casaundra Perez, who says she is the girl’s aunt, claimed in a recent TikTok video that the girl is her niece and is the victim of human trafficking.
“She had been sold to a soldier for sex,” Perez says in the video. “The military is trying to cover it up.”
Task & Purpose was unable to reach Perez on Monday. Marine Corps officials have not publicly commented about Perez’s accusations that the military is covering up the case
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service did not have the Marine in custody on Monday, NCIS spokesman Jeff Houston told Task & Purpose.
“I can confirm that no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made at this time,” Houston said. “Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on or confirm details relating to ongoing investigations.”
The San Diego County Sheriff’s office and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force are helping with the NCIS investigation, said police Lt. David LaDieu, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, on Monday.
The girl’s grandmother reported her missing on June 13, telling a sheriff’s deputy that her 14-year-old granddaughter had run away four days earlier, LaDieu told Task & Purpose. The grandmother also said that her granddaughter had run away in past incidents, but always quickly returned.
“On Wednesday, June 28, military police at Camp Pendleton located the teen and informed the Sheriff’s Department,” LaDieu said. “The teen was returned to her grandmother. Detectives interviewed the teen, and the family was offered services.”
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