Female sailor charges rape by shipmate

July 27, 1994|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Sun Staff Writer

A woman sailor serving aboard the USS Eisenhower, the first combat ship with female crew members, has told Navy officials she was raped by a shipmate, officials confirmed yesterday.

The alleged sexual assault took place shortly after midnight on July 15 and is being investigated by the Naval Investigative Service and the Eisenhower's command, said Cmdr. Kevin Wensing, a spokesman for the Atlantic fleet in Norfolk.

Both sailors -- who hold the rank of E-2 or seaman apprentice -- are continuing to serve aboard the Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier that returns to Norfolk today from training exercises off Virginia, he said.

The nuclear-powered carrier is scheduled to set sail in October for a six-month tour in the Mideast. It is expected to have about 500 women among its 6,000 crew members. There are now about 250 women on board.

"Nobody's been arrested. Nobody's been charged. They're conducting an investigation," said Commander Wensing, who said he expected a report sometime next week. "Right now it's an allegation."

The female sailor reported the alleged rape to the Eisenhower's medical personnel around noon on July 15. "What she reported was shortly after midnight she was sexually assaulted -- raped -- by another sailor from the Eisenhower," he said.

She was immediately seen by the ship's medical personnel and later treated at Portsmouth Naval Hospital and released. A standard examination of reported rape victims found no other injuries, Commander Wensing said.

After the incident, she returned to the ship with a woman shipmate. She did not contact local police.

Commander Wensing was uncertain where the alleged sexual assault took place.

He was also uncertain whether the two sailors knew each other, their ages or their duties aboard the ship. The commander did say they did not work in the same department or division.

Commander Wensing said it was common to have sailors continue their duty during an investigation. He said the two sailors had been counseled by their superiors to remain apart.

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