US Marines found guilty of sex crimes and child pornography


Rape, sexual assault and child pornography are just some of the charges being leveled against several senior leaders and others at Marine base Camp Pendleton.

For instance, ex-Chief Warrant Officer E. DeLeon Jr. was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography and was initially sentenced to seven years behind bars, but a pretrial agreement capped his imprisonment at five years.

Other similar cases are still pending in the military criminal justice system, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The newspaper filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests over the past four months and received highly redacted records that trace DeLeon’s crimes back to Nov. 26, 2016, at Camp Pendleton, when he distributed a digital image of a child engaging in sex. Three days earlier, he had communicated to an unidentified person his desire to molest “a little girl,” an act he thought “sounds amazing,” according to his records.

Another senior leader, Camp Pendleton Lance Cpl. M.F. Currington, was found guilty of abusing anabolic steroids and sexually abusing a child. He was sentenced to prison for three years.

According to the report:

Another Camp Pendleton Marine, Lance Cpl. B.J. Morton of 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, also was convicted last month of possessing and distributing child pornography. He was demoted to private and given a bad conduct discharge. A pretrial agreement capped his confinement at 1½ years.

He was incarcerated on Aug. 14 after investigators accused him of possessing three videos and other sexually explicit images of children, according to his records.

A fellow member of his artillery regiment, Marine E.F. Hernandez-Ramirez, faces multiple domestic abuse charges filed in September.

Several cases involve Marines accused of sneaking into other service member’s rooms to assault or grope them.

For example, Lance Cpl. J.P. Hill was convicted last month of sexual assault causing harm, abusive sexual contact and making an indecent recording. Assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters inside Camp Pendleton, he crept into the room of a fellow Marine at night to assault her and photographed her when she was naked, according to records released to the Union-Tribune.

He was sentenced to two years in prison, demoted to private and given a dishonorable discharge.

L.M. Schmidt, a Marine assigned to Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 in Yuma, Arizona, was charged on Aug. 17 with entering an unnamed service member’s barracks to touch the person’s hips in order to gratify his sexual desires, according to the court records.

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