The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 9, 2014

Documents reveal chaotic military sex-abuse record


He checked her neck, then went under her shirt and ran his hands up the sides of her torso. Then he asked Wilson, whose pants were unzipped because of the dressing change, to lie on her side. He felt her left hip bone, then slid his hand down the front of her pants and under her panties.

Wilson pulled up her pants, and confused and shaken, headed for the door.

"I saw Dr. Velasquez smile and wink at me on the way out," her sworn statement reads. "He was by the computer getting hand sanitizer. The whole exam, he didn't wear gloves."

The NCIS document summarizing the investigation prompted by Wilson's complaint shows that three other women subsequently came forward, saying Velasquez had touched them inappropriately.

Nevertheless, after 10 months the investigation was closed with no action. According to the document, Yokosuka Naval Hospital declined to take any action against the doctor, and the Navy legal services office in Yokosuka determined the case would not be forwarded to Navy officials in San Diego who oversee medical operations in Japan.

Finally in 2010, after accusations from more than two dozen women, the Navy filed multiple counts of sexual misconduct and other charges against Velasquez.

Most of the charges were dropped under a plea deal. Velasquez served a week in the brig, was dismissed from the Navy, lost his license to practice medicine, and was required to register as a sex offender.

Retired Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, the former commander of Navy forces in Japan who oversaw Velasquez's court-martial, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Wilson, 27, left the Navy, distraught over how her case had been handled.

The U.S. military has come under fire even when it did not have legal jurisdiction in a sexual assault case.

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