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Sailor to be punished for rape threat toward recruit on social media

A sailor based in Washington state has been found guilty of threatening to rape a California naval recruit in a social media posting and will now face internal discipline, Navy officials told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

Nicholas Lord, a sailor aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz, stationed in Bremerton, Wash., was accused of making the lewd comments last month after the woman posted a picture of herself and said she was joining the Navy.

"If I could and I knew you I'd hold you down and rape you," Lord wrote, authorities say.

Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for Naval Air Force Pacific, told The Times that Lord had been found guilty of using indecent language and would face an undisclosed punishment.

He has not been removed from the Navy, according to Groeneveld, who said possible punishments include demotion or a reduction in salary. Privacy laws bar the Navy from releasing specific details about an internal inquiry.

Lord, who joined the Navy in 2008 and served as a petty officer second class and electrician's mate aboard the Nimitz, did not respond to messages seeking comment. Attempts to contact the woman at whom the comment was aimed have been unsuccessful.

The Navy does not have a general social media policy for its sailors, according to Groeneveld.

“For personal social media sites for Navy sailors, there isn’t an overarching policy, because our servicemembers have a right to free speech," she said. "They are held accountable for their actions when their comments fall outside of good order and discipline.”

The initial comment, made last month, immediately went viral, sparking controversy on Web pages for naval recruits and a page for the Nimitz.

It remains unclear whether or not the woman, who once resided in Salinas, Calif., has reported for basic training yet.

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