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San Diego Navy SEAL pleads guilty to assaulting sailor in Iraq

Navy SEAL Adel Enayat petty officer. (Eduardo Contreras/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

A San Diego-based Navy SEAL pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaulting a fellow sailor in 2019 after a booze-fueled Fourth of July party in Iraq.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Adel Enayat was initially charged with sexual assault; however, as part of a plea deal with Navy prosecutors, he admitted guilt to a single assault charge during the special court-martial Tuesday.

Under questioning from the judge, Cmdr. Chad Temple, Enayat said he choked and bit the victim, a female Navy petty officer 2nd class, during a consensual sexual encounter after the barbeque at an air base in Iraq. Enayat said he was drunk at the time.

Enayat was sentenced to 90 days in the brig and reduced in rank to E-1, the lowest enlisted pay grade.

His victim declined to address the court, instead opting to submit a written victim impact statement to the judge. She was present when Enayat was sentenced.

As part of his plea deal, Enayat avoided a bad conduct discharge but is still subject to an administrative action, which could include a general discharge under honorable conditions. Such a discharge would prevent Enayat from receiving certain Veterans Affairs benefits.

The Associated Press published an account of the events of that night from documents and interviews with witnesses, including a former sailor, Colleen Grace.

Grace said the victim called her to her room at 1:50 a.m. after the party. She said her friend was in bed with a bruised face.

Grace said the sailor told her that what began as a consensual sexual encounter turned violent when the SEAL began choking her and biting her face.

The case made national headlines as one of several embarrassing incidents involving elite SEAL teams in recent years.

The Navy took the unusual step of removing the entire Foxtrot platoon of SEAL Team 7 from Iraq and sending them home early to San Diego. Shortly afterward, SEAL Team 7’s command triad — its commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief — was fired for what the Navy said were “leadership failures.”

The Fourth of July party came two days after another SEAL Team 7 member from a different platoon — Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher — was acquitted on charges that he murdered an Islamic State fighter and shot civilians during a 2017 deployment to Iraq. He was convicted of posing for pictures with the corpse of the dead fighter.

After his conviction, President Donald Trump prevented the military from taking disciplinary action against Gallagher.


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