Thursday, March 26, 2015
7 sailors charged in video scandal on sub USS Wyoming
Lt. j.g. Marquette Leveque was the first female officer to qualify for submarine duty on the USS Wyoming.
Buss Bynum/Associated Press
26 March 2015
The Navy has charged seven sailors in connection with the recording and sharing of videos that showed female officers and student trainees in stages of undress aboard a U.S. submarine.
The Navy announced last year that it was investigating allegations that women were secretly recorded aboard the USS Wyoming nuclear submarine by male sailors stationed at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base on the Georgia coast. On Wednesday it released charging documents in the case.
The records show that three sailors were charged last month with making the video recordings and trading them with three other sailors, who are charged with distribution of illicit files. Another was charged with knowing about the videos and failing to report them to superiors.
The Navy documents also state for the first time that women who were recorded included midshipmen — students from the U.S. Naval Academy or college Navy ROTCS programs — temporarily assigned to the ballistic missile submarine between March and June 2014.
Cmdr. Tommy Crosby, a spokesman for the Navy’s submarine fleet command, declined Wednesday to say how many videos were made or give the number of women recorded, noting that prosecutions are still pending.
“The videos are still considered pre-evidentiary and therefore it is inappropriate to comment at this time,” Crosby said.
Navy prosecutors have said the videos depict women either undressing or toweling off after showers. They were discovered just a few years after the Navy began switching to coed crews aboard its submarines.
Navy Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander of the nation’s submarine fleet, has characterized the case as a “serious sexual offense, with significant penalties.”
The Navy redacted the names of five of the accused sailors from the charging documents released. Crosby said that’s because commanders have not yet decided whether to send their cases to a court-martial.
The records say one missile technician traded two energy drinks for videos of women. Another is accused of “stating that the videos of female officers were ‘like Pokémon, gotta catch them all,’ or words to that effect,” according to one document.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason A. Bradley, charged with three counts of distributing illicit video recordings, is one of two accused sailors named in the documents.
Bradley’s Navy defense attorney, Lt. Cmdr. Rich Federico, said the electronics technician had been charged only as “a small player” in the video scandal.
“He is not charged with filming any officers onboard the submarine but with passing along videos sent to him by others,” Federico said in an emailed statement. He added that Bradley is “confident that the system will produce a fair and just outcome.”
The second named suspect, Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon S. McGarity, is charged with failing to report the videos to superiors even though he knew about them. The Associated Press could not immediately locate an attorney for him.
Bradley and McGarity were named in the Navy documents because their cases have been referred to a court-martial.