CAMP PENDLETON - A Camp Pendleton Marine charged with sexual assault of a minor in connection with a 14-year-old Spring Valley girl found on base earlier this summer is set for a hearing today to determine if he will face a court martial.
The Marine, whose name has not been released, was taken into custody on June 28, one day after military prosecutors allege he engaged in sex acts with the girl.
The teen, who has not been identified because of her age, was reported missing by her grandmother on June 13, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The grandmother told law enforcement the girl had run away four days prior, and though she'd run away before, she usually returned home shortly afterward.
About two weeks later, the girl was found on base.
The Marine is charged with three counts of sexual assault of a minor and two charges of violating liberty restrictions.
During the preliminary hearing, evidence will be presented and a decision will be made regarding whether the case will be tried by court-martial. Though his name has not been released, Camp Pendleton officials say he's part of Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
The girl's aunt, Casaundra Perez, has told news outlets that her niece has learning disabilities and was sold to a Marine for sex.
Military.com reported that the Marine and the girl claimed to investigators that they met on the dating app Tinder. The girl used a fake name and claimed to be 22 years old on the app, Military.com reported, and the Marine admitted to having sexual contact with the girl.
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