Pornographic images in NEX case belonged to U.S. sailor
November 20, 2007
The pornographic images at the center of a bizarre extortion case involving a former NEX manager in La Maddalena, Sardinia, belonged to a U.S. sailor who is no longer stationed at the base.
Last week, Italy’s finance police charged two Italians with attempted extortion after they allegedly tried to bribe U.S. Navy officials into rehiring a Navy Exchange employee by threatening to make public the compromising images of a U.S. sailor, said U.S. and Italian officials.
A disc of the images shows consensual poses — some clothed, some semi-clothed, and some nude — made more than a year ago of a sailor who has since left the base, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent David DiPaola said Monday.
“There is nothing criminal about the images,” he said.
The sailor inadvertently left a thumb drive containing the images in an off-base cyber cafe, DiPaola said. The images are of just the one individual. DiPaola declined to say if the sailor was a man or a woman.
The U.S. Navy command knew of the disc more than a year ago, he said.
The disc resurfaced recently when the former NEX manager, Carmine Di Martino, and carabinieri officer Attilio Mele, allegedly threatened to make the images public if the Navy failed to rehire Di Martino, according to Capt. Cesare Antuonfermo of Italy’s finance police, the Guardia di Finanza.
Di Martino lost his job as the NEX manager in July after Italian and U.S. officials raided the homes of several NEX employees and confiscated truckloads of suspected stolen merchandise as part of an ongoing theft probe. It is unclear how he might have gotten a copy of the disc.
Italian and U.S. officials are continuing the investigation into roughly 1.5 million euros (over $2 million) worth of merchandise allegedly stolen from the NEX warehouse and store, Antuonfermo said.
Di Martino and Mele have been placed under house arrest on the extortion charge.