Sexually explicit files found on computer at Naval Academy Specialists investigating graphic material found on safety office machine

February 05, 1997|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

A trove of sexually explicit computer files accidentally discovered last week on a Naval Academy computer has prompted a military inquiry into the school's public-safety office.

Computer specialists from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Washington arrived in Annapolis on Sunday to analyze more than 600 files found on a personal computer assigned to the office of Lt. Cmdr. Michael E. Braley, the security officer supervising the academy's police and fire departments.

According to sources who have seen them, between 50 and 100 of the 602 computer files contain graphic material, mostly in the form of letters to women, describing sexual acts, preferences and sexual encounters on government-sponsored business trips.

"There is an investigation going on," Braley said yesterday. "I can't talk about it."

Capt. Tom Jurkowsky, an academy spokesman, confirmed that the NCIS had "been called in to see if there was any inappropriate material on there, if there was any criminal activity."

He said the computer was assigned to the academy's security office and that some of the files predated Braley's arrival at the academy, in July 1994, by two years. He would not say whether those files contained sexual material.

Jurkowsky said late yesterday that NCIS investigators had worked through the hard drive and found personal letters.

NCIS investigators will file a report answering two questions: How did the alleged pornography get onto the hard drive? And is the material illegal?

Depending on those findings, the initial review could evolve into another embarrassment for the academy, which over the past two years has confronted a rash of drug, cheating and car-theft scandals involving midshipmen, but none implicating commissioned academy personnel.

The inquiry, which Jurkowsky described as "ongoing," is expected to determine whether Braley or someone else in the security office wrote the material or whether it was downloaded from the Internet.

The files are WordPerfect text entries, not pictures, making it unlikely that the Internet was the source of the material, the sources said.

NCIS guidelines require a full investigation when an allegation involves a felony carrying a penalty of at least one year in prison. If findings do not support those charges, the academy would be left to deal with the case.

Jurkowsky said penalties could range from "a slap on the wrist to counseling" to discharge. In addition, Braley, who is married, could face charges that he violated the military law against adultery.

The material was found late last week after a routine upgrade of Naval Academy computer equipment in the security office. The Naval Academy Fire Department was to receive 12 old computers from the Police Department.

The computers were sent to the academy's Computer Services Department where the hard drives were supposed to be erased. But one terminal, in what Jurkowsky called an oversight, was not purged.

That computer was delivered to the Annapolis Fire Department on Taylor Avenue, where academy firefighters are sharing space until their on-campus headquarters is renovated. Firefighters discovered the files and called the NCIS.

Braley, a 22-year Navy veteran, arrived at the academy after a sea tour on the nuclear-powered cruiser USS Long Beach. He is 40 and began his career as an enlisted man, rising steadily through the ranks.

"He's a tough-nosed guy," Jurkowsky said. "He's had a very distinguished career. You're not assigned to a position as security officer unless you have a flawless record."

His 2 1/2 years supervising the academy's 83 police and fire department personnel has been rocky. He has repeatedly angered leaders of the 32-member Naval Academy Professional Firefighters, Local F-254. He tried to reprimand several members of the union's management.

Yesterday, the academy's fire chief, Jim Nicholes, briefed firefighters about the investigation. NCIS investigators are expected to question several firefighters who discovered the files.

Pub Date: 2/05/97

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