Johna Strickland Rush, The Tribune & Georgian
28 May 2015
A USS Wyoming sailor who pleaded guilty Tuesday to filming female officers referred to the videos as "Pokémon, gotta catch them all," said he had "captured some Pokémon" and traded the videos to another sailor for two energy drinks.
"The accused has dehumanized these officers, made them objects to be collected," Navy prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Lee Marsh said Tuesday during the court martial. "This is how he has objectified these women. These were his officers and he treated them like possessions."
Missile Technician 2nd Class Charles Greaves was the first Wyoming sailor to face a court martial, which was held at Mayport Naval Station. He was represented by his assigned military attorney, Lt. Kevin Larson, and two Kingsland attorneys, Miles Hendrix and Jim Stein. The Navy provides a military attorney at no expense to the accused but the defendant must pay for private counsel.
Greaves pleaded guilty to four felonies: disrespecting superior commissioned officers, using the camera function on a cell phone while at sea, recording the private areas of four female officers and distributing those videos.
The videos show female officers undressing and showering on the USS Wyoming, which is homeported at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Submarine Group 10. Navy officials learned of the videos in November 2014 and launched an investigation, finding that about 12 male enlisted sailors were implicated and the videos were recorded during patrols in 2013 and 2014.
Military judge Capt. Robert Blazewick sentenced Greaves to four years in a military prison, a reduction in rank to E-2, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. Greaves will only serve two years in prison per his pre-trial agreement. Prior to hearing testimony, Blazewick knew Greaves had an agreement but did not know the jail time. If Blazewick had sentenced Greaves to less time than agreed upon, then that would have become his sentence. The agreement supersedes a greater sentence though.
The maximum sentence was 28 years in prison, a reduction in rank to E-1, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. E-1 is the lowest enlisted rank. Greaves is an E-5.
Greaves may have to register as a sex offender depending on the laws of the state where he resides.
A second sailor, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joseph Bradley, was convicted Wednesday in special court martial proceedings. He was charged with distributing the videos and impeding an investigation.
Bradley was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a reduction in rank to E-3 and forfeiting two months pay.
A special court martial conviction is similar to a misdemeanor conviction in a civilian court, according to the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. The maximum punishment that can result from a special court martial is 12 months of jail time, forfeiting two-thirds of pay each month for 12 months, reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge. The Wyoming was one of the first submarines to integrate female officers in late 2011. Navy-wide, there are 59 women serving aboard seven submarines, including the Wyoming, USS Georgia and USS Florida at Kings Bay.
The charges Sailors standing watch would notice when the women finished working out, then notify Greaves or two other sailors that they were headed to shower, Greaves said in answer to Blazewick's questions about the guilty charges. "When I knew that they were in the shower, I'd go back there with my cell phone and record them while they were undressing and showering," Greaves said.
Greaves - wrapping his cell phone in black cloth and electrical tape to conceal his actions, according to Marsh - manipulated the camera into a gap between the piping and paneling in a storage area behind the showers. Greaves said he violated Navy policy by using the camera function on his cell phone while at sea. The Navy allows sailors to take personal electronic devices on submarine patrols but prohibits the use of recording features.
The prosecution's testimony
Marsh called the four victims, a victim's husband and Wyoming gold commanding officer Cmdr. Kenneth Curtin to testify about the impact of the crimes on the women's lives. The victims talked about being shocked, angry and upset when they learned about the videos in mid-November, two weeks before a patrol. They were all visibly shaken, Curtin said. "We thought about the possibility of something happening. This was my worst nightmare," the second victim who testified said. ".(Then) how could I have been so stupid to trust these people? . I felt like my life had been pulled out from under me."
At work the next day, the first victim who testified wondered if the person standing next to her had been involved. The Navy removed the accused sailors from the ship once an investigation was opened. "I went back because I wanted the opportunity that I had earned and I didn't want anyone to take that away from me," she said, noting that she went on the patrol.
The second victim said she put her heart and soul into the Wyoming and expected that her trust and respect would be returned. "I never questioned it," she said. ". They were my brothers." She decided not to make her final patrol because she felt that she couldn't trust anyone and wondered if they had seen the videos.
"(The patrol) was kind of a culmination of everything I loved on the boat," she said, crying. ". I couldn't go to sea at 50 percent."
She talked about the impact on her life, even now that she has moved to a new duty station. "I was a really good submarine officer," she said. ". All they remember is that I was recorded in the shower."
The third victim talked about the trust between shipmates and how she now wonders about other bathrooms and changing rooms. "It's something that follows you," she said.
The fourth victim testified that privacy was expected in the bathroom once the sign had been flipped to notify officers that a female was using it. "You thought that you were alone, that nobody was looking," she said. She decided not to go on the patrol. "It wasn't what I wanted to do but it's what I felt like I had to do," she said. ". It was like everything that we had done had been taken away."
The crime has followed her too. She is hesitant to mention the Wyoming in talking about her career. "I don't want them to feel sorry for me," she said. ". I don't want the chance of them making that connection." But people do and ask over and over again: "Oh, were you on that ship?" "It happens no matter where you go," she said.
The defense's testimony
The defense called Senior Chief Jeff Coat, who worked with Greaves on the Wyoming and now Trident Training Facility at Kings Bay. Coat said Greaves is an average to above average missile technician. He recommended
Greaves to be an instructor at the training facility where Greaves has been on limited duty since the investigation began. He is performing administrative tasks instead of teaching.
Stein then questioned Greaves in unsworn testimony. Greaves said an instructor in his Navy C school told the class there was a viewing point in the officer's head. Years later, he and two other sailors discussed the possibility of a peephole. "We had talked about it when we were on watch," he said. ". We had the bright idea to record it."
A chief observed them talking about the videos in the missile control center and he asked what they were doing, Greaves said. They told him and he asked to see the videos. "He said, 'Good job,'" Greaves said of the chief's response. A first class petty officer also saw the videos. "He thanked me," Greaves said.
Feeling that he needed to do something to make up for his actions, Greaves has offered to testify against other sailors without the offer of a reduced sentence, he said. "I knew what I had done was wrong," he said. Marsh clarified that the two sides were talking about a possible deal. Larson countered that a promise or deal was not in place at the time. Greaves apologized to the victims, saying he was remorseful and sorry for betraying their trust.
"I never intended to cause any pain or turmoil by my actions," he said. He said that he told the Navy how the videos were made to bring closure and show the victims how they were recorded. "They deserve to know," he said. Greaves did these things to help the Navy and victims reach closure, Stein said.
Marsh said Greaves had dehumanized and objectified the officers and violated their privacy while operating a video camera in area that has classified materials. He also robbed the women of being known for their accomplishments and his actions have impacted their daily lives, Marsh said.
"This accused has left them looking for holes," he said. "'Is somebody looking at me? Is somebody recording me?'"
Hendrix made the closing statement for the defense. He said violations of the personal electronic device policy were widespread and that Greaves has taken responsibility for his actions.
"Mr. Greaves did not have to come forward when he did," Hendrix said. He told the Navy everything and, without his statement, Navy officials might not have found out who else was involved, Hendrix said. He told Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents how the videos were made and the techniques they used to conceal their actions. This is valuable information the Navy can use to protect sailors, Hendrix said.