An MH-60S Seahawk lands on the guided-missile destroyer Bulkeley. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sara Eshleman/Navy)

A commissioned officer assigned to the Navy’s guided-missile destroyer Bulkeley sexually abused a child last year at Virginia’s Langley Air Force Base, prosecutors say.

 

Ensign Kevin Ortiz’s court-martial trial is slated to begin in Norfolk on Monday. He’s been charged with four specifications of sexual assault of a child between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age on Sept. 21 at the Air Force base.

He also drew a related charge for attempting to persuade the girl to engage in the sexual activity.

Throughout the month leading to his alleged intercourse with the girl, Ortiz wooed her on KIK, an instant message system for cellphones, according to charge sheets released to Navy Times.

“Hmmmm I’m trying to see all skin your whole body, legs, chest, all skin” and “how my lips will feel when I kiss all over your body,” he allegedly typed.

The Arleigh Burke-class Bulkeley is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

Both Ortiz’s military trial counsel and his command declined comment when contacted by Navy Times.

Designated as a “surface warfare officer in training,” Ortiz was commissioned in mid-2016, shortly after graduating from the New York Maritime College in the Bronx. He was a member of the school’s Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps.

After leaving the Surface Warfare Officer Learning Site in Norfolk on Aug. 12, 2016, he was assigned to the destroyer Bulkeley.

He’s not the only sailor in Norfolk accused of committing serious crimes.

The court-martial trial for Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 3rd Class Caleb Wayne Somers also is scheduled to begin Monday. He’s been charged with four specifications of sexual assault and another for abusive sexual contact tied to an incident that allegedly occurred in Norfolk on Jan. 2, 2016.

Somers allegedly raped an unconscious woman in Norfolk, according to charge sheet documents released to Navy Times.

He’s assigned to Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk.

His trial counsel did not return Navy Times telephone calls seeking comment.

Originally from Missouri, Somers enlisted in the Navy in late 2010 and served aboard the amphibious warship Mesa Verde between 2011 and 2016.

His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Sailors man the rails as the guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook departs Cobh, Ireland, on March 25, 2017. (Navy)

 

The military is prosecuting a Navy chief in Norfolk on multiple sex crime charges, including an alleged rape that triggered an international incident in Ireland.

Chief Intelligence Specialist Ray D. Braimer has been charged with tugging down a fellow sailor’s leggings and underwear and raping her while she resisted on March 22, 2017, inside a Dublin hotel during a liberty visit by the guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook to the southern Irish port of Cobh.

Prosecutors further claim that Braimer unlawfully crawled into the bed of female sailor in Ireland on the same date and tried to kiss her without her consent.

Also on the same day, he allegedly sexually harassed a fellow sailor by telling her she was beautiful and inviting her to his room and “stating that he hates the fraternization policy of the Navy that prevents him from being with any woman he found attractive because of pay grade,” according to redacted charge sheets released to Navy Times.

Braimer also faces an abusive sexual contact charge for allegedly rubbing the knee of a female sailor in Souda Bay, Greece, three months earlier.

Because of the charge sheet’s redacted passages, it’s impossible to determine if the alleged victims were multiple women or the same sailor.

Both Navy officials and Braimer declined comment and the chief did not return multiple telephone and social media messages left for him by Navy Times.

Braimer was arrested by the Gardaí — the Irish police — in the morning after the alleged sexual assault and he was accused of violating Section Four of Ireland’s Criminal Justice Act of 1984.

The female sailor was taken to a local hospital where she provided a sexual assault evidence kit and made a statement to Irish police, who were joined in the investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents.

In the wake of Braimer’s arrest, the American embassy in Dublin issued a statement that Navy officials were cooperating fully with Irish authorities and expressed the “deep respect and gratitude to the people of Ireland for the personal friendship that they have extended” to visiting service members.

Irish authorities later surrendered jurisdiction to the Navy.

KAMPALA- There was drama at the General Court Martial on Tuesday August 7 when a lawyer representing the embattled Boda Boda 2010 Association patron, Abdallah Kitatta was thrown out of court for disrespecting proceedings.

The court was in the middle of the cross-examination of the prosecution witness, Private Richard Kasaija over his May testimony that pinning Kitatta on being in unlawful possession of three guns and 55 rounds of ammunitions.

However, Kitatta’s lawyer, Jimmy Muyanja, banged the table in anger, accusing the prosecutor, Maj Rapheal Mugisha, of signaling answers to the witness, whose cross examination had lasted four hours.

Muyanja’s actions angered the court chairman, Lt Gen Andrew Gutti, who ordered Military Police to escort him out, with a warning never to set foot in the court again for being “stupid”.

During the cross-examination, Kitatta’s lawyers led by Shaban Sanywa labelled Kasaija as an incompetent soldier who is unfit to carry on operations, saying he cannot even remember the number or the names of suspects he arrested in January.

They had also asked court to bring evidence of CCTV footage of a Hotel that Kitatta was allegedly arrested from at Wakaliga as part of his defence.

However, Gen Gutti declined to grant the order for Kitatta’s lawyers to use the camera footage as evidence that Kitatta was never found with the 3 guns in his room at Vine tea Hotel.

“The camera footage is not part of the testimony of the first prosecution witness private Kasaijja and therefore there is no basis upon which the lawyers can cross-examine him on the same,” Gen Gutti explained.

Kitatta is charged together with 12 members of his group for offenses of unlawful possession of firearms and Military equipment. The suspects have since denied the allegations for which the prosecutor will present his second witness on September 10.

https://youtu.be/mU8Wzp36R3M

Senior Airman Branden Gutierrez was court martialed in 2017 for having unlawful sexual contact and failing to disclose his HIV status.

He was found not guilty of the first charge while the other was ultimately dismissed. However, he wouldn’t return to work for long.

Shortly after his case concluded, a Commander in the 21st Logistical Readiness Squadron put a plan in place to discharge him.

Now, Gutierrez is speaking with News 5 Investigates to clear his name and save the benefits he believes he earned after the commander was successfully able to discharge him.

Because he was not “honorably discharged”, Gutierrez loses access to certain benefits like his GI Bill.

“When I first found out and was diagnosed with HIV, it was pretty tough,” Gutierrez told News 5.

The challenge of getting treatment for HIV was nothing compared to what happened next.

“I was accused of not disclosing my HIV status to someone,” he said.

Gutierrez says he met people through Grinder—a dating app for gay men.

After having a sexual encounter with another airman, that airman filed a report alleging Gutierrez did not disclose his status.

Gutierrez adamantly denies this, but that didn’t stop him from being court-martialed and charged with engaging in unlawful sexual contact and failing to inform his partners of his status.

More than one sexual partner was interviewed during the court-martial hearing.

On Gutierrez’ public profile on the social media app, he clearly lists his status as “HIV-positive undetectable”.

Gutierrez says he has not spread the virus to any of his sexual partners.

On December 6, 2017, the charge related to not disclosing his HIV status was “dismissed” according to this document obtained by News 5 Investigates.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez was found “not guilty” at trial for the unlawful sexual contact charge, but his life wouldn’t return to normal.

“A month after that (the court-martial) in late January 2018, my commander issued me a letter of reprimand for the same exact thing that I was tried for in my court martial which didn’t make sense to me as to why he was doing that,” Gutierrez said.

In this administrative action letter, Lt. Col. Joshua Schaad continued to “reprimand” Gutierrez for allegedly violating military orders by failing to disclose his HIV status—the same charge that was dismissed a month prior in December 2017.

“During the court martial, I proved that I was up front about my status since Day 1,” Gutierrez claims.

Two months after sending Gutierrez the letter of reprimand, the same commander issued another letter on March 5, 2018—recommending Gutierrez be discharged for misconduct and specifically mentioning Gutierrez’ HIV status.

 

Vasillios Pistolis charlottesville neo-nazi marine

NEWS
Vasillios Pistolis clubs a man with a wooden flagpole during the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis – who reportedly belonged to a Neo-Nazi group and assaulted protesters while marching with white supremacists last year – has officially been kicked out of the Marine Corps.

Pistolis had been sentenced to 28 days’ confinement, reduction in rank to E-1, and forfeiture of two-thirds pay for one month after being found guilty at a June 19 summary court-martial of failure to obey an order or regulation and making a false official statement.

The ex-Marine was separated on July 11, the day he got out of the brig, said Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Brian Block.

“He is not a Marine anymore,” said Block, who was unable to say what type of discharge Pistolis received due to privacy act restrictions.

Pistolis had been assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 8, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

ProPublica reported in May that Pistolis was a member of Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group, and had marched in the Aug. 12, 2017, “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. A news photographer captured a picture of Pistolis beating a protester with a wooden flagpole, and he reportedly bragged online about assaulting another protester, Emily F. Gorcenski.

When ProPublica tweeted on Wednesday that Pistolis had been separated, Gorcenski responded by tweeting: “Bye Nazi.”

The Marine Corps makes clear that any Marines will be separated if the Corps confirms that they are members of or associated with any hate groups. Two Camp Lejeune Marines, Sgt. Michael Chesny and Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning, were separated after being arrested in May 2017 for flying a white supremacist banner at a pro-Confederate rally in North Carolina.

Former Marine recruiter Dillon Ulysses Hopper is reportedly the leader of the white supremacist group Vanguard America. And James Alex Fields Jr., who only spent four months with the Army before being kicked out, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing a woman at the Unite the Right rally by ramming his car into a crowd of protesters.

“We are seeing more cases involving hate groups,” said Daniel Conway, a former Marine captain who is now a civilian attorney who represents service members. “I don’t think there’s an organized presence. But social media allows impressionable young men to associate with various groups that advocate divisive and hateful messages.  Some of the groups operate under the veil of veterans organizations.”

Regardless of the causes, he added, hate group activity in the services is “a growing problem.”