A Navy petty officer third class is facing court-martial after being charged with trying to solicit someone under the age of 18 for sex earlier this year while stationed in Bahrain.
Quartermaster 3rd Class Kenneth Olaya was charged with attempting to commit a sexual act with a child between the ages of 12 and 16 on Jan. 18 in or near Manama. He's also accused of soliciting a person other than his spouse for sexual acts in exchange for money on multiple occasions between March and December 2017, according to his charge sheet.
Olaya is one of at least five sailors charged with alleged sex crimes or misconduct in Bahrain. Military.com first reported in August that Olaya was facing a court-martial, but his charge sheet was not released by Navy officials until recently.
An arraignment is being scheduled for Olaya. A trial date has not yet been set, said Lt. Tim Pietrack, a spokesman for Navy Region Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.
Olaya, who's from North Carolina, has been in the Navy for five years. He has a Good Conduct Medal and a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, according to his personnel records.
Three chief petty officers, Chief Operations Specialist Jayson Waitman Grant, Chief Logistics Specialist Calvin Halfacre and Chief Logistics Specialist Earl Anthony McLaughlin; and a petty officer second class, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Jihad Hobeson Littlejohn, were charged with various crimes that allegedly occurred in Bahrain around the same time period.
A lieutenant commander is also under investigation, Navy Times reported this summer. Navy officials have declined to comment on the investigations while they're ongoing.
Migrant workers and unskilled laborers in Bahrain can be forced into labor and sex trafficking, the State Department warned earlier this year.
The Navy has started an awareness campaign for sailors deploying there, said Cmdr. Josh Frey, a spokesman for Navy Forces Central Command. The campaign covers combating human trafficking as well as ethics and character development.
"The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of this issue, reinforce Navy core values, and promote bystander intervention by encouraging sailors to speak up when wrongdoing or destructive behaviors are occurring," Frey said. "The campaign also includes ongoing law enforcement and investigative measures to identify and appropriately address any further activity discovered."