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Marine charged with sexual assault after 14-year-old missing girl is found at barracks

NewsMarine charged with sexual assault after 14-year-old missing girl is found at barracks

A Marine in California has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was found in barracks after she was reported missing for weeks, 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 August 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.

“To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation and the rights of the subject, further information is unavailable until this decision is made,” Capt. Charles Palmer, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

The girl, who has learning disabilities, 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, but she had waited four days to alert the cops as she has a history of running away from home, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office.

This time aroused suspicion, however, as the girl typically returned after a few short days, cops said.

She was released to her grandmother, who accused the Marine of raping the girl while she was on the base.

Other relatives have speculated that she was sold by a sex trafficker.

“She was found in the barracks by military police. She had been sold to a soldier for sex,” her aunt Casaundra Perez alleged in a TikTok video.

Ms Perez accused the military of trying to cover up the alleged rape of her niece and said that the whole base camp is responsible.

“The reality is the whole facility allowed this to happen,” she said.

“The security looked her in the face and allowed this man to bring a minor onto the base, where he then proceeded to have sex with her. Due to her age, she could not have given this consent.”

How the teen made it onto the barracks remains a mystery. 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.

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