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Naples sailor gets 12 years for child assault

By RICK SCAVETTA | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 19, 2003

HEIDELBERG, Germany — A sailor who admitted to molesting two boys and hoarding child pornography received a 12-year jail term during a court-martial Tuesday at Patton Barracks.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Calabro, 32, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault with a child and possession of child pornography.

Navy Capt. Bruce MacKenzie sentenced Calabro to 17 years in prison, but he will likely serve just 12 years, due to a pretrial agreement with the government. Under the sentence, Calabro also will be reduced to the military’s lowest pay grade, receive a dishonorable discharge and forfeit all pay.

Calabro, an aircraft mechanic assigned to Naples, Italy, was held in pretrial confinement at the U.S. Army facility in Mannheim since October. For convenience, the Navy held the court-martial at the U.S. Army V Corps law center.

Prosecutors asked MacKenzie to sentence Calabro to 21 years’ jail time, while the defense argued that 4½ years was enough. The maximum allowable punishment for his crimes totaled 55 years in jail.

The government also dropped a sodomy charge against Calabro, for which he could have received life in prison.

No amount of confinement could really make up for the crimes against Calabro’s victims, said Navy Lt. Kevin Yusman, the government prosecutor.

In July 1999, while stationed at San Clemente Island, Calif., Calabro molested his 11-year-old cousin, who was visiting, Yusman said. Later that summer, Calabro fondled a friend’s 8-year-old son while the boy slept in bed.

Calabro also collected 200 photographs of children wearing diapers shown in sexual positions, Yusman said. When Calabro moved to Italy, he brought them along on compact disc.

Civilian authorities in California and Florida previously investigated cases against Calabro but never made an arrest, said Special Agent Warren Lederberg, a Navy investigator. Lederberg apprehended Calabro on Oct. 24, 2002, in Sigonella, Sicily.

In his Naples home, investigators found chains on his bed, sexual toys and aging fecal matter, Yusman said. Calabro had begun to show interest in two children in Naples, one the child of a servicemember, Lederberg said.

During the sentencing, Calabro’s mother, Dottie Culp, who flew in from Utah to testify, hung her head low, clutching a rosary.

Earlier, the stocky sailor dressed in dark blue told the court of a poor and unstable childhood. An uncle sexually abused him at a young age, he said. He watched his mother’s bouts with alcohol and abusive boyfriends, he said.

He also read aloud apologies to the two boys he assaulted, their families and to his commander.

“It was not their fault. It was my fault alone,” Calabro said. “I just pray that I may receive help for my problem.”


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