Bonhomme Richard Ensign Gets 14 Months for Fraternizing, Sex Videos

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- A junior officer formerly stationed aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment after fraternizing with enlisted sailors and making sex videos without his partners' consent, Navy officials said Friday. Ensign Alexander B. Petit was also dismissed from the Navy during court-martial sentencing in a Yokosuka Naval Base courtroom Thursday. Petit pleaded guilty to sexual harassment, dereliction of duty, four counts of fraternization with three women, two counts of indecent acts and two counts of wrongfully endeavoring to impede an investigation. "Justice was done in this case," said Commander Naval Forces Japan spokesman Cmdr. Ron Flanders. "He violated the trust in his position, and there's no place for officers like this in our Navy." Fraternization between an officer and an enlisted member is considered harmful to "good order and discipline" under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Of the four fraternization charges, three were based on physical relationships with sailors in paygrades ranging from E-3 to E-5. The fourth fraternization charge came after Petit passed a written note to a sailor that was considered "unduly familiar communication," according to Navy officials. Petit's dereliction of duty charge stemmed from an incident when he was standing watch aboard Sasebo, Japan-based Bonhomme Richard as the aft safety officer. Petit read a book and fell asleep during his watch, Navy officials said. After investigators began pursuing the case, Petit impeded the investigation by attempting to persuade one the sailors he fraternized with to cover up the incidents, Flanders said.

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