Saturday, November 5, 2011

Local Marine recruiter charged in sexual assault of high school student

[Update: according to the Austin American-Statesman, in August, 2012, charges against Timothy Craig were dismissed]

The following article about a Marine recruiter sexually assaulting a local 16 year-old high school student was published in today's issue of the Austin American-Statesman.  As the article notes, this is the second time within a year that a military recruiter has been charged with a sexual assault of an AISD student, and in both cases, the recruiters made the initial contacts with the students during high school recruitment visits.

I hope that AISD administrators think about this.  If the recruiters had been affiliated with an organization other than the US military, would that group still be allowed onto high school campuses? 

When this kind of recruiter abuse occurs, the perpetrators are usually deemed "bad apples" whose behavior is not representative of military values.  However, if one takes an honest look at the rates of sexual assault within the military and behaviors that are accepted and often even promoted within the armed forces, such as the use of misogynous cadences, pornography and the solicitation of prostitutes - many of whom, overseas, are underage - then it's not surprising that "military values" could lead to recruiter abuse.

Unfortunately, the US military is a male-dominated institution in which a culture of gender discrimination still prevails, and sexual assault is committed at higher rates than in the civilian world.  This is a serious issue.  It's among the most important reasons that I think high schools should not be used by the US military for recruitment purposes.

Here is the article:

Marine recruiter charged with sexual assault of high school student

by Claudia Grisales  Austin American Statesman   November 5, 2011

Following a weeks-long police and military investigation, a Marine Corps recruiter has been charged and jailed in a sexual assault case involving a 16-year-old female McCallum High student, officials said Friday.

Sgt. Timothy Lamont Craig, 26 , has been charged with sexual assault of a child following a Sept. 22 football game at House Park Athletics Facility, near Lamar Boulevard and Enfield Road, court records and police said Friday.

The case has drawn investigators from the Austin Police Department, the Marine Corps and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which tracked Craig's movements in a government-issued vehicle and cellphone used in contacting the victim, officials said.

"The Marine Corps holds its members to the highest standards," said Marine Corps Capt. Abraham Sipe, a district public affairs officer. "We take these allegations very seriously, and we will ensure the appropriate actions are taken throughout the course of this process."

Craig had been a campus senior recruiter for the branch's North Austin recruiting substation since April 2010 , Sipe said. He recruited at McCallum, Anderson and LBJ high schools and the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in the Austin district and at Round Rock's Westwood High, he said.

Craig, who joined the Marines from California in 2004, visited one or two campuses a week during lunch periods or at other times allowed by the schools, Sipe said.

The teen told police she had met Craig at a recruiting booth at school, the affidavit said, though it did not say when. The pair exchanged hundreds of text messages starting in July and at least a half-dozen phone calls in September, according to court records.

Austin school officials said Craig visited McCallum twice, in September 2010 and 2011.

The Austin district "had no knowledge of any concerns with this recruiter prior to this incident," the district said in a statement. "As soon as the district was made aware of the situation, AISD police took immediate action to prevent this particular individual from entering our campuses."

The district did not have additional information about Craig's visits to other campuses. A call to the Round Rock district was not answered Friday afternoon.

According to the affidavit, the teen had made plans to meet Craig during the game, where she thought she was going to do a workout for the Marines. After she was dropped off, she met Craig in his government-issued vehicle, and he drove her to a nearby alley, the affidavit said.

There, Craig made a sexual gesture toward her before they engaged in sexual intercourse, the affidavit said.

The teen's guardian contacted police in late September after overhearing her discussing the incident, an arrest affidavit said, and Craig was contacted about the allegations Oct. 11.

Craig was booked into the Travis County Jail late Thursday night on $100,000 bail, jail records show. He was in jail records Friday night.

He has been removed from his position pending the outcome of the investigation, said Sipe, the Marine district public affairs officer.

"This is a joint civil and military investigation," Sipe said. "We will continue to cooperate, and once it is completed, we will decide whether there will be additional adjudication within the Marine Corps."

This is the second time this year that a local military recruiter has been charged in connection with a sexual assault of a high school recruit. In April, Staff Sgt. Roland Benavides was charged with sexual assault in a 2009 incident involving an Akins High School student. Benavides is awaiting trial.



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