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Charges filed against female guard linked to Miramar brig scandal

Feb. 10, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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A female Marine prison guard is facing charges following an inmate’s claims that he was sexually assaulted and harassed by staff at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Lacey Kohlman was charged Jan. 17 with dereliction of duty, false official statements and violation of a federal statute, according to officials with Marine Corps Installations West and brig documents reviewed by Marine Corps Times.

Kohlman was referenced in a lurid complaint made by Shane Bardes, a Marine inmate of the Miramar brig, who alleged she and other guards had sexually manipulated and humiliated him during his two-year incarceration there. According to a detailed personal statement made by Bardes, Kohlman worked in security and served as his escort around the facility hundreds of times. Bardes, who is completing a five-year sentence for rape, claims Kohlman wrote him sexual notes, groped him and performed oral sex on him, and gave him nude and partially clothed photographs of herself, which he traded with another guard for contraband.

While Bardes willingly participated in most of their encounters, he and his attorney John Hafemann now argue that his status as a prisoner means his interaction with a female guard was legally nonconsensual and tantamount to sexual assault. Hafemann has filed a request for special clemency for Bardes on the grounds that his mistreatment by staff warrants release.

The allegations, which involved at least one other female guard and a civilian therapist, prompted a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe into staff conduct at the brig. Marine Corps Times has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the results of that investigation, which have not yet been made public.

Bardes was removed from the Miramar brig in July 2013 as allegations involving his involvement with the brig staff became known throughout the facility. He is now serving the remainder of his sentence at Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston, S.C. The guards linked to the scandal were terminated after the allegations came to light, officials with Naval Personnel Command said. But so far, Kohlman is the only one to face charges.

Marine Corps Times reviewed documents showing that Navy officials declined to charge the other guard accused in the scandal, a petty officer.

Hafemann said he was concerned by the Navy’s decision, but was focused on Bardes’ special clemency request while criminal proceedings against Kohlman move forward. Officials with the Navy’s Council of Review Boards have said that request is on hold pending the results of the NCIS investigation, which Hafemann has yet to review.

Kohlman’s pre-trial hearing has been set for the week of Feb. 24, said Marine Corps Air Station Miramar spokesman Capt. Anton Semelroth. Her appointed military attorney, Capt. Matthew Davidhizar, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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