U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Nelsen, who served with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in Iraq, has been discharged after being accused of sexually assaulting a female fellow soldier.
His arrest on June 25 came after a woman filed a lawsuit against the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense in November 2016 alleging Nelsen had groped her while on a patrol in Iraq in 2014.
Nelsen was found guilty of the charges in February and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
The Marine Corps said he had been suspended from duty and would be dishonorably discharged from the service.
“Sergeant Nelsen’s conduct during the course of his military career is not in keeping with the standards and values of our Marine Corps,” said Rear Adm.
John D. Vickers, a Marine Corps spokesman.
Nelson was arrested after an investigation found that he had assaulted the woman while she was on duty.
Nettle’s arrest comes after a series of high-profile sexual assaults, including that of a female officer who was raped by a Marine in Afghanistan in November, and a Navy nurse who was sexually assaulted in Afghanistan by a fellow sailor in July.
The Navy said it would allow an investigation by a military sexual assault panel that was convened by the service in May to examine the events leading up to the alleged assault.
Nettles arrest comes amid criticism of the Marine corps’ handling of the cases of the three women.
“What I think is troubling is that the Marine service is not providing the training and support necessary to help these women understand and cope with their assault and the consequences of their assault,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The senator also said she was “deeply concerned about the fact that this was not handled properly.”
Nelsen is a 20-year-old native of North Carolina.
In 2014, he was assigned to a Marine battalion in the eastern region of Iraq where he served as a platoon leader and took part in the platoon’s “Halloween” drill.
He left the unit in October of that year, and has been stationed at the Marine Barracks at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for the last year.
A military investigation determined Nelsen committed sexual assault against the woman and was charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault, two counts of attempted aggravated assault and two counts each of aggravated battery, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated sexual contact.
According to the Marine report, the woman reported Nelsen to his battalion commander in June of that same year, saying he had touched her inappropriately while they were on patrol.
“The sexual assault of a subordinate is a serious offense that should be reported to the commanding officer,” the report said.
“Although the victim did not report the assault to the chain of command, she also did not complain to her commanding officer, Lt.
Col. James O’Brien, until three weeks after the incident occurred.
The victim’s story was also corroborated by other witnesses and the victim’s superiors.
The report found that when Nelsen returned to the battalion in August of that time, he had become “increasingly sexually aggressive.”
After the woman was sexually abused by Nelsen in June, she reported the sexual assault to her superiors and was relieved of her duty.
On Oct. 27, the Marine accused Nelsen of sexually abusing her again.
“This was a very bad decision on my part, and I take full responsibility for it. “
I’m very proud of what he did and I’m extremely sorry,” Nelsen said in a statement released after the hearing.
“This was a very bad decision on my part, and I take full responsibility for it.
I’ve apologized to my wife and family and will continue to make good choices to better myself and my fellow Marines.”
The Marine report also said Nelsen has since completed gender-neutral training at the company’s base in Iraq.
The investigation by the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General concluded that “no credible evidence exists to support the Marine’s claims of sexual assault.”
In the wake of the allegations, the service has said it has “zero tolerance” for sexual assault.