By Brock Vergakis
8 hrs ago
Charge sheets accuse Varanko of threatening the woman and placing her in fear that "she would be subjected to grievous bodily injury."NORFOLK
The aggravated assault and battery charges say Varanko placed his hands around the woman's neck, squeezed until she was unable to breathe, pushed the woman against a wall, pinned her against the floor, placed his knee against her back and put her in a submission hold.
Varanko also is accused of sexually harassing the woman in Kentucky, Indiana and Virginia between March and May 2015.
A Virginia Beach-based Navy SEAL has been charged with kidnapping and raping a fellow sailor in a hotel room near Fort Knox, Ky., according to the Navy.
A general court-martial is set to begin Tuesday for Chief Petty Officer Stephen Varanko III at Naval Station Norfolk.
Varanko's court-martial comes at a time when the military finds itself in the spotlight once again for how it attempts to address and prevent sexual assaults within its ranks, following increases in such reports at the Naval and Military academies this past year. Attention also is focused on a growing scandal involving the online requesting and sharing of nude photos of female personnel among Marines and others.
Varanko's case was one of about 1,500 adult sexual assaults reported to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in 2015, an increase of about 6 percent from the previous year, according to the agency's most recent annual report.
Varanko is assigned to Special Reconnaissance Team Two at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach. He is charged with four counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault and one count each of aggravated assault and battery. Varanko also is charged with making a false official statement, provoking speech and for violating a general regulation.
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