Testimony ends in second Article 32 for Naples sailor
January 10, 2006
NAPLES, Italy — A second criminal investigation for a Naples-based sailor charged with indecent acts with a minor, sexual harassment and fraternization wrapped up Monday after one day of testimony.
It was the second time Chief Petty Officer Felix Correa went through an Article 32 investigation. In mid-December, criminal charges against Correa, 41, were dropped after the convening authority ruled that the first Article 32 investigation, held in November, was “procedurally defective” because the investigating officer improperly closed the entire investigation to the public and media.
During Monday’s proceeding, the mother of the minor — a 12-year-old girl at the time of the alleged incidents — testified via telephone that she left her daughter twice with Correa and his wife in the spring of 2005 while she attended naval schooling in the States.
She and Correa had served together in the past and, during their time in Naples, had developed a close family relationship. The mother now is a senior noncommissioned officer stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
The mother did not allow her daughter to testify again Monday, saying the girl suffered nightmares after appearing in court in November. The investigating officer was provided a disc of the girl’s testimony from the previous Article 32.
A teacher, Joseph Colombo, testified Monday that the girl had approached him in school the day after an alleged incident on May 12 and told him Correa inappropriately touched her as the two played computer games in Correa’s basement. The girl stated “this time he went too far,” Colombo said, adding that he clearly remembers the girl using that phrase.
The fraternization charge stems from an allegation that Correa visited a 34-year-old seaman in her barracks to help her “find her limits” with alcohol consumption and had the woman drink a total of eight shots of tequila while the two played chess. The woman, now a civilian living in Missouri, could not be found to provide testimony, so the investigation officer was given a compact disc of her comments from the November hearing.
The sexual harassment charge stems from allegations that Correa made a now 21-year-old third class petty officer feel uncomfortable on three occasions: when he invited her to his house, with his family present, to “find her limits” with alcohol consumption after learning the woman was planning to go to Oktoberfest in Germany; when he discussed his own sexual history and gossip of sexual relationships of other sailors in their command during the workday and when he commented on her body.
The investigating officer, Cmdr. Jeffery Theil, has 10 days to submit his recommendation to the convening authority.