Navy doctor accused of sexual assaults to face court-martial
January 16, 2010
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Navy doctor accused of sexually assaulting his patients in Japan and Kuwait will be court-martialed, Navy officials confirmed Thursday.
Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Velasquez faces four charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including 17 counts of wrongful sexual contact, said Commander Naval Forces Japan spokesman Cmdr. Ron Steiner. The other charges include assault consummated by battery, attempt to commit a crime and 14 counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, Steiner said.
No date has been set for the court-martial, said CNFJ spokesman Jon Nylander.
Some of the counts stem from Velasquez’s duty at the Naval Air Facility Atsugi health clinic between 2006 and 2008, Nylander said. Most pertain to his medical practice at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait from December 2008 to June 2009.
Velasquez had been investigated by U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka prior to his Kuwait deployment, but charges were not filed at the time.
During a November hearing, 15 women testified over the phone and in writing that Velasquez assaulted them when they visited him for health care.
Multiple witnesses said they sought help for common maladies, such as neck pain, and ended up receiving ungloved breast and vaginal exams while Velasquez "baby-talked" them.
A doctor called by the prosecution said that there was no medical need for several of Velasquez’s actions.
Defense counsel Gary Myers contended that Velasquez’s medical care might have been unorthodox but didn’t constitute a crime.
Myers, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer, is no stranger to high-profile cases. He defended Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, one of the soldiers accused of abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. He also defended a Marine following the deaths of three Iraqis in Haditha, Iraq. And as a military lawyer, he was counsel for a soldier in connection with the Vietnam-era My Lai incident.