Navy releases more details in case of sailors videotaping women showering on sub
NAPLES, Italy — A sailor likened his recording of female officers showering aboard the submarine USS Wyoming to “catching Pokemon” and traded several of the videos to one crewmembers for energy drinks, according to documents released by the Navy on Wednesday.
The seven charge sheets are the latest from a Navy investigation into 12 sailors accused of making and sharing the cellphone videos while aboard the ballistic-missile submarine between August 2013 and June 2014.
All seven sailors named in the documents face sexual misconduct charges. Two so far have been referred for court-martial, while the other five are awaiting their command decisions on discipline, which could range from referral for court-martial to nonjudicial punishment.
Decisions on whether to charge four additional sailors are still pending, and another sailor will not face charges because of a lack of evidence, according to Lt. Cmdr. Tommy Crosby of U.S. Submarine Force Atlantic.
The episode has been an embarrassment for the Navy as it continues integrating female officers aboard its submarines and plans to bring enlisted females aboard beginning next year. The service has described the process as going smoothly since it began in 2011.
Ballistic missile submarines are capable of carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads and are considered the most reliable leg of the nation’s nuclear triad. As of December, there were 57 female officers serving on ballistic missile submarine crews.
The Wyoming, part of Submarine Group 10, is stationed in Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, Ga. According to the redacted charge sheets, the ship was often underway when the videos were taken, and in some cases female Midshipmen from the Naval Academy were on board and possibly filmed.
Two of the sailors charged so far are accused of taking the videos with their cellphones. One, a petty officer second class missile technician, is also accused of lying to investigators about his role.
Another sailor, with the same rank and job, accepted the two energy drinks in exchange for some of the videos. Comparing the illicit recordings to Pokemon, he joked with others that “like Pokemon, gotta catch them all.”
The two sailors facing court martial are Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph A. Bradley, an electronics technician, and Petty Officer Brandon S. McGarity, a missile technician. Bradley is also accused of trying to destroy the video evidence; McGarity is accused of lying to a senior chief petty officer when confronted about the allegations. Both men waived their rights to an Article 32 hearing, an investigative hearing meant to determine whether a court-martial is required.
Two other sailors also waived the right for hearing, and another two are awaiting the outcome of their hearings, which were held earlier this month.
The sailor behind the alleged Pokemon comparison is scheduled for an Article 32 hearing on March 27, said a spokesman for his current command, Lt. Cmdr. Kate Meadows of the Naval Education and Training Command.
Exactly how the videos were taken remains unclear, and the Navy has not publicly released a copy of the investigation that led to charges. Berthing for female officers is segregated, but women use common shower facilities at designated times.
Also unclear is how many women were recorded and their ranks. The charge sheet variously refers to officers and Midshipmen.