Five Sailors at Texas Military Base Face Charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault
Five Navy seamen who were training at a military base in San Antonio, Tex., are facing charges of aggravated sexual assault in connection with an alleged rape one year ago at a park about an hour from the base.
The sailors, who were attending Naval Technical Training Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio at the time of the alleged crime, were arrested on Friday at the base, according to local authorities.
Bail for the men — Mauricio Chaparro, 28, Kenneth Johnson, 20, Anthony Cooney, 21, Dominick Burns, 20, and Kyle Tuschmann, 19 — was set at $500,000 for each, and all five are being held at Hays County Jail in San Marcos, Tex., according to local officials.
Details on the allegations are thin. But according to a police report, shortly after 10 p.m. on May 19, 2018, an officer with the San Marcos Police Department responded to a report that six people were involved in a sexual assault in the back of a truck in Rio Vista Park, a city-run park with tennis courts and hiking trails along a river.
Initially, the woman who made the complaint declined to pursue criminal charges. But she returned to the Police Department the following day to press charges and cooperate with investigators.
It is unclear if the woman is affiliated with the military.
The Police Department investigated the allegations and submitted their findings to the district attorney, according to Chief Chase Stapp.
“Since it is a pending case, we will not be able to comment on it further,” he said in a statement.
On April 24, a grand jury in Hays County indicted the men, according to court documents. Mr. Chaparro, Mr. Cooney and Mr. Burns have been accused of physically assaulting the victim. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Chaparro were accused of acting “in concert” with the other men, but the indictment did not specify their roles in the reported assault.
It was not clear on Tuesday whether the men had hired lawyers.
Because the alleged assaults took place off of the military base, the state will prosecute the case.
Wes Mau, criminal district attorney for Hays County, said a prosecutor had been assigned to the case, but declined to comment on how it would be handled.
On Tuesday, Cmdr. James Stockman, a spokesman for Naval Education and Training Command, said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) was conducting its own investigation, and the Navy “is cooperating with local authorities.”
The five defendants were put on a “training hold status” after the alleged assaults, according Commander Stockman.
Like all first-degree felonies, aggravated sexual assault in Texas can be punished by a prison term of five years to life in prison, Mr. Mau said.