Pendleton Marine Faces 3 Counts of Sexual Assault After Teen Found in Barracks Room

The entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton
The entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton is seen on Sept. 22, 2015, in Oceanside, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

The Marine accused of having sex with a missing 14-year-old girl in his barracks room has been charged with three specifications of sexual assault, according to a charge sheet obtained by on Tuesday.

The charges allege that the unnamed Marine, a 22-year-old man, assaulted the girl on June 27 at Camp Pendleton, California. Each specification lists a different sexual act committed "upon a child who had attained the age of 12 years but had not attained the age of 16 years," the document said.

A second charge states the Marine violated restrictions by leaving Pendleton grounds on June 27. The restriction itself is "prior and unrelated," according to the Marine Corps, but the charge relates to when the accused Marine and a friend went to pick up the teenager off base -- the same day the alleged assault occurred.

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The revelation of the charges comes a day before the Marine is set to attend a preliminary hearing at Camp Pendleton on Thursday. After the preliminary hearing, the Marine's command will review the evidence and charges laid out by military prosecutors and decide whether it will go to court-martial.

The Marine has been in pre-trial confinement since Aug. 1, according to the charge sheet.

In July, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, looked into allegations of human trafficking, according to investigatory documents obtained by last month. Those allegations have been leveled by the victim's family in comments on social media and to the press.

Investigators did not find evidence of human trafficking at that time and so far there has been no publicly produced evidence that suggests human trafficking was involved.

However, on Wednesday, NCIS told that it would not comment further on the investigation when asked whether there was suspected human trafficking. NCIS did say, however, it is still working with a California Department of Justice human trafficking task force.

"I can confirm that the investigation remains ongoing in partnership with the San Diego Sheriff's Department and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force," Jeff Houston, a spokesperson for NCIS, told on Wednesday. "Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS will not comment further while the investigation remains ongoing."

The female teen went missing in June for two weeks and, according to investigative documents obtained by, the unnamed Marine and a fellow service member left post June 27 to pick her up.

When the group returned to base that day, personnel at the gate checked the identification only of the service members, not the girl. The next day, after the alleged assault occurred, the girl was found roaming the barracks by two service members, according to leaked log sheets made public on social media.

A summary of the initial investigation said that the Marine met the teenager on a dating app, on which she misrepresented her age as 22 years old. Military investigators reviewed the Marine's phone and found an exchange between him and the teen in which she admitted to lying about her age, according to the documents.

Initially, the teenager told investigators that no sexual contact had occurred, but the Marine admitted to having sex with the girl when questioned. About a week later, the teenager was interviewed by a law enforcement agent specializing in crimes involving children. At that time, the teenager alleged that she had been sold for sex to the Marine.

Last month, the victim's aunt, Casaundra Perez, accused the military of covering up the case and said that human trafficking was involved.

According to local San Diego authorities, the victim was last seen by her family on June 9 and was reported missing on June 13. Perez said on social media last month that the victim has learning disabilities and that, between personal issues affecting the family and distrust of law enforcement from a previous incident when the child ran away, they did not report her missing immediately.

-- Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

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