Southern California Marine Charged with Sex Assault of Girl, 14, Who Was Found in Barracks

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base sign outside the main gate of the base.
Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base sign outside the main gate of the base. (San Diego Union-Tribune file photo/TNS)

SAN DIEGO -- A Marine at California's Camp Pendleton has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was found in a base barracks, the military announced Friday.

Military prosecutors charged the Marine with sexual assault of a minor and with violating liberty restriction from an earlier, unrelated case. After a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 17, authorities will decide whether he will face a court-martial, said a statement from Capt. Charles Palmer with the 1st Marine Logistics Group.

The Marine's identity and other details of the case, such as when and how he met the teenager and how she got onto the base, weren't immediately released.

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The girl had been missing for more than two weeks when military police located her inside a barracks on June 28 at the base 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of San Diego.

Her grandmother has said the girl ran away in early June. Other relatives have speculated that she was sold by a sex trafficker.

She has been returned to her grandmother in suburban Spring Valley, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

All visitors are stopped at the entrance to the sprawling base by Marines and required to show authorization to enter the base. Marines are allowed to bring a visitor on base and into the barracks until a certain hour, which varies according to each building.

Related: 14-Year-Old Girl Found in Pendleton Barracks May Have Met Marine on Tinder, New Documents Show

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