Navy sailors held in rape case

Published 10:23 pm Friday, August 23, 2013

Three sailors from the U.S. Navy have been charged with rape and other felonies after an alleged rape in Suffolk last week.

Freddrick Thompson

Freddrick Thompson

Daniel Keith Sanders, 22, of Norfolk, was charged with abduction for the purpose of extorting money or for immoral purposes, forcible sodomy and forcible rape; Freddrick According to Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink, Lamar Thompson, 24, of Suffolk, was charged with two counts of abduction for the purpose of extorting money or for immoral purposes, object sexual penetration, forcible sodomy and two counts of rape; and Michael Jerame Willis, 20, of Norfolk, was charged with abduction for the purpose of extorting money or for immoral purposes, two counts of rape, object sexual penetration and forcible sodomy.

The arrests come amid soul searching from the U.S. Department of Defense after it revealed in May 3,374 reports of sexual assault with service members as victims or subjects in fiscal 2012, up from 3,192 in the previous corresponding period.

Keith Sanders

Keith Sanders

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Some commentators branded the sexual violence in America’s armed forces an epidemic. The news has sparked a national debate over whether the military should be allowed to continue to handle cases internally after it was revealed only 190 last year resulted in court-martial proceedings.

The sailors apprehended in Suffolk are being held without bond in Western Tidewater Regional Jail, according to Klink.

They were arrested after their alleged victim said she was raped by three acquaintances while visiting an apartment in the 6000 block of College Drive on Aug. 16, Klink stated.

Lt. Cmdr. Mike Kafka, public information officer with Naval Air Force Atlantic, said Sanders and Thompson are sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, whose homeport is Norfolk, while Willis is assigned to the Fleet Readiness Center, also in Norfolk.

Michael Willis

Michael Willis

While the sailors are currently behind bars, they technically remain on active duty, Kafka said.

“The Navy has been cooperating with local authorities,” he said. “Right now, they remain on active duty. We have to wait for the legal process to work its way through. We don’t want to interfere with local law enforcement.”

Both Kafka and city spokesman Tim Kelley declined to confirm whether the sailors’ alleged victim is civilian.

Kafka referred the question to local authorities, and Kelley stated, “No additional information is available at this time.”