A Coronado-based Navy master chief is under investigation by the service after he was caught allegedly trying to meet a 14-year-old-boy for sex at a Lemon Grove grocery store in August, according to Naval Special Warfare Command.
The sailor, a 51-year-old information systems technician, was lured to rendezvous with what he allegedly thought to be a child by vigilante group People vs. Predators Association in August. A video of the encounter was published on the “People vs. Preds” YouTube channel Aug. 6.
The investigation was first reported by ABC 10News San Diego Wednesday.
The Union-Tribune is not naming the sailor because he has not yet been charged with a crime. According to the sailor’s military biography, he is not a Navy SEAL but works in a support role at NSW in Coronado.
A Naval Special Warfare spokesperson confirmed the sailor is under investigation but referred further questions to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. NCIS did not immediately respond to questions Thursday.
The sailor was confronted inside the Lemon Grove Albertsons on Broadway, where text messages show he had arranged to meet someone he believed to be a 14-year-old boy, the video shows. He then leaves the store and, over the course of 36 minutes, answers badgering questions from the People vs. Preds cameraman about messages exchanged on the dating app Grindr that precipitated the rendezvous.
The cameraman says in the video that the sailor planned to take the boy to his Otay Ranch home. The sailor suggested having sex with the boy as part of a father-son role-play, according to text exchanges shown in the video.
“I feel horrible, I feel embarrassed,” the sailor says in the video. “I don’t want to go to jail, I don’t want to be arrested…this is wrong, I made a horrible mistake.”
Public records show the sailor lives in eastern Chula Vista across the street from a preschool and about 1,000 feet from an elementary school. The Navy did not respond to questions about whether he has been given any restrictions on digital communications or contact with children.
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