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Navy promoted officer who admitted molesting daughter in lieu of investigation

Posted by on Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:06 AM
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Navy promoted officer who admitted molesting daughter in lieu of investigation


["Navy Officer Smiling In Dress White Uniform" on Shutterstock]
 

A Navy officer who admitted to Virginia’s Child Protective Services (CPS) that he sexually abused his 13-year-old daughter has yet to be punished by the service for his actions.

CPS found that the allegations made against the officer — whose name is withheld because his victims are minors — were credible. Though he only confessed to molesting his 13-year-old daughter, his 10-year-old son alleged that the officer had tied him to a chair and forced him to watch as he had intercourse with his current girlfriend.

The charges against the daughter were severe — CPS gave them a Level 1 designation, indicating that the sexual abuse caused the child to “severe harm.” He settled with CPS by admitting to Level 2 sexual abuse, meaning he confessed to having caused his daughter “moderate harm.”

According to the daughter in statements obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, the officer actively molested her for two years before the night he took her into a bedroom, pinned her down and raped her.

“He kept saying that if I told anyone, he would hurt me,” the daughter said in a written account. “I screamed but no one could hear me. I was too scared to tell anyone.”

Two years after the attack, a social worker who interviewed her reported that she was dealing with post-traumatic stress, anxiety, insomnia and had developed an ulcer.

“This thing has ruined me forever,” she told a social worker. “I take three or four showers a day to feel clean.”

According to the report in The Virginian-Pilot, CPS placed the officer’s name on the State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry, and forbade him from being within two miles of the home, school or workplace of any of his four children until they are adults.

Despite the CPS’s findings and the severity of the punishment it handed down, the Navy declined to prosecute the officer internally, effectively clearing him of all charges. He has received two promotions since being cleared.

His soon-to-be ex-wife and three of his four children — including the two CPS found had made credible allegations against him — live in destitute circumstances. A judge in the divorce hearing, believing these allegations an attempt to derail the officer’s career, declared the wife to be in contempt of court and sentenced her to 10 days in jail or a $5,000 fine.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is currently trying to determine why no criminal investigation was undertaken when the allegations against the officer first came to light nearly four years ago.

by on Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:06 AM
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sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Admitted child abuser keeps his Navy career

Posted toMilitary News Virginia Beach 

An unidentified child - and one of the subjects of the story - has her portrait made Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at the undisclosed motel room where she, her mother and her three siblings are living after two of them were sexually molested by their father, a Navy officer. City social workers found the allegations credible, but the Navy cleared him. He has been able to continue in his Navy career unhindered while the children and their mother are destitute.  <span class='credit'>(Rich-Joseph Facun | The Virginian-Pilot)</span>

1 OF 4 PHOTOS: 

An unidentified child - and one of the subjects of the story - has her portrait made Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at the undisclosed motel room where she, her mother and her three siblings are living after two of them were sexually molested by their father, a Navy officer. City social workers found the allegations credible, but the Navy cleared him. He has been able to continue in his Navy career unhindered while the children and their mother are destitute. (Rich-Joseph Facun | The Virginian-Pilot)

VIRGINIA BEACH

When a Navy officer was accused of sexually molesting two of his children, city social workers investigated and concluded that the allegations were credible. They placed his name on the State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.

He was forbidden under court order from going within 2 miles of the home, school or workplace of any of his four children until they turn 18.

But when the Navy examined the same allegations, the result was the opposite. The officer was cleared. He has faced no criminal prosecution. To the contrary, he has been promoted and allowed to stay in his $96,000-a-year job unhindered.

Meanwhile, the Navy lieutenant is divorcing his wife, who has been left destitute. The family home in Virginia Beach has been lost to foreclosure. The wife and four children have moved five times in four years, ending up in a cockroach-infested motel room at the Oceanfront, where they live among the homeless and drug addicts.

The judge in the divorce case, persuaded that the allegations were impeding the officer's Navy career, has declared his wife in contempt of court and sentenced her to 10 days in jail - time that she will have to serve unless she pays a $5,000 fine.

She has no money to pay the fine. She is barely able to feed her children.

How could this happen?

The Navy is trying to find out.

 

After learning of The Virginian-Pilot's findings, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has opened an investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the lieutenant, NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said Friday.

In addition, Buice said, the NCIS is trying to determine why no such investigation was undertaken when the allegations came to light four years ago.

The Virginia Beach Department of Human Services has faced public scrutiny after two recent fatalities in child-abuse cases. In this instance, the agency's investigations appear to have been comprehensive and its findings unequivocal.

The lieutenant was accused of sexually abusing his 13-year-old daughter and his 10-year-old son. In both cases, the city's Child Protective Services unit reached a finding of Level 1 sexual abuse. That's the most severe designation, meaning the child suffered serious harm.

The lieutenant appealed the findings. In the daughter's case, he settled with the agency by consenting to the less serious Level 2 designation, meaning the child suffered moderate harm. By signing that decree, he was admitting - after two years of denials - that abuse occurred.

It's unclear how the appeal of the son's case was resolved.

The lieutenant declined through his attorney to comment on the case.

In keeping with a policy of not identifying alleged victims of sexual abuse, The Pilot is not naming any of the family members in this report.

 

In a tearful interview with a social worker, the daughter said her father took her into a bedroom, locked the door, pinned her down by her wrists and raped her, city records obtained by The Pilot show. She said the assault followed two years of inappropriate touching by her father.

"He kept saying that if I told anyone, he would hurt me," the daughter said in a written account. "I screamed but no one could hear me.... I was too scared to tell anyone."

Two years after the alleged rape, a psychologist who counseled the girl reported that she was experiencing high levels of depression and post-traumatic stress with anxiety, insomnia and flashbacks, and had developed an ulcer. She reported fleeting thoughts of suicide.

"This thing has ruined me forever," she told a social worker. "I take three or four showers a day to feel clean."

The girl's allegations were "detailed, consistent and she has no obvious motivation to fabricate," a social worker noted on a log sheet.

Her father, who underwent a court-ordered psychosexual evaluation, was found to exhibit "a nondisclosing (86% 'False' responses), highly guarded and defensive profile."

The evaluator placed him in the "Denier-Dissimulator child sexual abuser category."

 

The daughter's account first came to light in 2009, shortly after her parents separated, when her younger brother came home from a visit with his father, city records show. The boy told his mother that his father had made him watch as the father and his girlfriend had sex.

Initially skeptical, his mother questioned his account. His sister then suggested that he might well be telling the truth because "Daddy hurt me, also."

It was then that the mother called Child Protective Services.

The boy told a social worker that his father had tied him up, covered his mouth with duct tape and made him watch the sexual encounter, city records show. He also said that on more than one occasion, he would wake up at night and his father would be touching his genitals through his clothing.

In addition, both the boy and his mother reported suffering physical abuse at the hands of the lieutenant, according to a social worker's sworn statement.

 

The military services are under scrutiny nationwide for sexual abuse in the ranks, typically for cases involving one service member assaulting another. But the Virginia Beach case shines a light on alleged abuse within a military family.

The Defense Department says it is committed to addressing and ending domestic abuse. Its Family Advocacy Program "works to ensure the safety of victims and helps military families overcome the effects of violence and change destructive behavior patterns," according to a military website.

In the Navy, abuse allegations are referred to a committee that typically includes a physician, a line officer, a military lawyer, a social worker and a mental health care provider.

Nearly 1,400 reports of child abuse and neglect that were referred to such committees over a three-year period in the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region were reviewed by The Pilot. Almost half were determined to be "unsubstantiated" - meaning the accused service member was cleared and the case closed.

That was the result in both of the cases involving the children in Virginia Beach.

 

The first allegation, involving the daughter, was reviewed by a Navy committee in Virginia Beach in 2009.

In 2012, after the father had transferred to another East Coast base, another committee examined the allegations involving the son. It is unclear whether the second committee was aware of the earlier case or its disposition.

A longtime Hampton Roads child-protection advocate says making sexual-abuse allegations stick in the military is difficult, blaming a culture where service members look out for their own.

"The military is reluctant to make findings in any kind of sexual abuse cases," said Betty Wade Coyle, executive director emeritus of Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads. "Especially if it's an officer, it practically takes an act of Congress."

One reason for that, Coyle believes, is the high cost to a service member who is found culpable. According to Navy regulations, a substantiated case of child sexual abuse carries a mandatory penalty of administrative separation from the service, unless the service member is acquitted in a criminal proceeding.

"Sometimes they identify with the perpetrator instead of the victim," Coyle said. "They think: Why is this a charge? Why is this going to wreck the guy's career?"

 

It is unclear how much of the evidence amassed by city social workers found its way into the hands of their Navy counterparts.

In an interview, Mary Ann Richards, a child welfare supervisor at the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services, said that, when a service member is involved, the city agency typically discusses abuse cases verbally with military family advocacy workers and provides a copy of the agency's findings - whether the allegations were substantiated or not. But the agency does not normally turn over a full record of its investigation, she said.

The city and Navy family protection agencies use the same standard of proof in reaching their findings. For an allegation to be substantiated, there must be a preponderance of the evidence that the abuse occurred. It's the same standard that's generally applied in civil court.

So, given the same standard of proof and the same set of facts, how could the two agencies have come to opposite conclusions?

"It would really depend on how intensive is their investigation," Richards said. "Who did they interview?"

Beth Baker, a spokeswoman for the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region, said the lieutenant's daughter declined, through her mother, to be interviewed by the Navy case manager.

"We followed all the right procedures," Baker said.

The mother, however, told The Pilot that the case manager never asked to speak to the daughter.

Baker said the region would look into its processes for handling abuse allegations, particularly how Navy commands work with civilian human services agencies.

 

Another question is why the father faced no criminal prosecution, either civilian or military.

Navy regulations require that suspected incidents of child sexual abuse be reported to the NCIS, the agency responsible for investigating crimes punishable under military law. Buice, the NCIS spokesman, said it appears the agency was made aware of the Virginia Beach case. It is unclear what followed.

On the civilian side, a spokeswoman for Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Harvey Bryant said city police investigated the case but that Bryant's office declined to prosecute because of insufficient evidence.

Proving a criminal case requires a higher standard of proof than the one used by the child protection agencies. Prosecutors must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bryant said it is his office's policy "not just to throw cases up in court that we really don't think we can prove, and hope a miracle happens." Taking a case to court requires "a substantial likelihood of a conviction," he said in an interview.

"These cases are the kinds of crimes that police, law enforcement, prosecutors - we all know in our gut and our heart that this person committed the crime but we don't have the evidence that would be admissible in court to prove it," he said.

 

Sexual abuse is even more difficult to prove than physical abuse, he said, because sometimes it leaves no physical marks.

And relying on a child's testimony to prove a sexual-abuse case is particularly problematic, Bryant said - a fact borne out by the record in this case.

When a therapist asked the lieutenant's daughter if she felt she could testify against her father, city records show, she replied: "I don't think that I can do it. I know I can't do it. I am afraid that he will kill me. He said he would."

As for her younger brother, the hurdle would have been even steeper. He is severely disabled, diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.

For the lieutenant's estranged family in their Oceanfront motel room, Thanksgiving was just another day. And the prospects for Christmas appear equally bleak.

One recent afternoon, the youngest child, a 4-year-old boy - also disabled - hung candy canes on a miniature Christmas tree his mother bought at the Navy commissary. But there is no money for gifts.

"It's going to be hard," the mother said.

Her husband, who has been in the Navy nearly 24 years, now is stationed in California.

 

At a hearing in March, Virginia Beach Circuit Judge Glenn Croshaw issued a contempt citation against the mother, persuaded by her husband's attorney that she had inappropriately contacted the Navy, jeopardizing her husband's career.

She receives $1,250 a month in spousal support and $1,100 in child support under a preliminary divorce settlement, but she said it's difficult to stretch it to cover the family's expenses. Her annual income from the support payments is barely above the federal poverty level for a family of five. She is behind on her car and cellphone payments.

To tide her over between support checks, she frequently has to borrow from her oldest daughter, a student at Old Dominion University who works part-time as a waitress. The daughter is pursuing her studies without books - she couldn't afford them. She doubles up with friends and spends a lot of time at the library. The motel room has no Internet connection for online studies.

The family's small Oceanfront hotel room has two double beds. The mother sleeps in one with the two boys. Two girls share the other. They hang food in plastic bags from the closet rod to keep it away from the cockroaches.

Outside, needles can be seen on the ground and pills on the steps. Fistfights and stabbings are common. The police show up nearly every night.

With a jail sentence hanging over her head, the mother worries that one night, they might come for her. She wonders what would happen to her children?

They are already traumatized enough, she said: "They've lost everything."

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:10 AM
1 mom liked this


Quote:

The lieutenant appealed the findings. In the daughter's case, he settled with the agency by consenting to the less serious Level 2 designation, meaning the child suffered moderate harm. By signing that decree, he was admitting - after two years of denials - that abuse occurred.

I cannot believe criminal charges were not filed!
heather77g
by Bronze Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 8:45 AM
3 moms liked this

OMG this is just horrible!

Mrs.Sparkle
by Bronze Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:02 AM
1 mom liked this
I am not surprised at all. It's a sad day when people cover for child molesters.
candlegal
by Judy on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:11 AM
1 mom liked this

Really, so it isn't just the Catholic Church?

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: I am not surprised at all. It's a sad day when people cover for child molesters.


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:14 AM
2 moms liked this

No one ever said it was.


Quoting candlegal:

Really, so it isn't just the Catholic Church?

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: I am not surprised at all. It's a sad day when people cover for child molesters.



denise3680
by Gold Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:14 AM
2 moms liked this

I hope everyone finds out who this sick piece of shit is and they castrate him on the spot.

Mrs.Sparkle
by Bronze Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:23 AM
1 mom liked this
No it isn't just the Catholic Church. It's people like my stepfather who was military and molested me and my three sisters for years.

Quoting candlegal:

Really, so it isn't just the Catholic Church?

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: I am not surprised at all. It's a sad day when people cover for child molesters.


candlegal
by Judy on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:25 AM

I am sorry you had to go through that.  No, it isn't just the Catholic Church though there are a few people in this group that try to pretend  it is just the Catholic Church.

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: No it isn't just the Catholic Church. It's people like my stepfather who was military and molested me and my three sisters for years.

Quoting candlegal:

Really, so it isn't just the Catholic Church?

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: I am not surprised at all. It's a sad day when people cover for child molesters.



denise3680
by Gold Member on Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM
6 moms liked this


Quoting candlegal:

I am sorry you had to go through that.  No, it isn't just the Catholic Church though there are a few people in this group that try to pretend  it is just the Catholic Church.

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: No it isn't just the Catholic Church. It's people like my stepfather who was military and molested me and my three sisters for years.

Quoting candlegal:

Really, so it isn't just the Catholic Church?

Quoting Mrs.Sparkle: I am not surprised at all. It's a sad day when people cover for child molesters.



you would not have had to apologize if you had not came on here and made such a snide and uncalled for remark to her in the first place:/ 

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