SAN DIEGO — A Camp Pendleton Marine accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and violating liberty restriction will be tried in a general court-martial, military officials said.
A trial date for the Marine, identified as Private First Class Avery Rosario, will be set during his arraignment Thursday, Captain V. J. Burger, the communications director and spokesperson for 1st Marine Logistics Group told FOX 5 Wednesday in a statement.
“As always, the command respects the legal process, the rights of the accused, as well as any other individuals affected by the case. We will continue to release information as transparently as possible without interfering with the legal process,” Burger said.
Rosario claims the teen lied about her age several times, and he believed she was 21 years old during their alleged consensual sex in the barracks at Camp Pendleton in June.
In August, a preliminary hearing was held for Rosario who was brought into the courtroom handcuffed.
The defense argued that Rosario had a Tinder profile, where he met the girl who went by a fictitious name and identified herself in her Tinder bio as 21 years old. Her Tinder bio also read, “yeahhh ik I look young but hey when I’m 30 I’ll look like I’m in my 20s.” When she was brought to the barracks, the defense said they had consensual sex.
During the court hearing, the defense claimed Rosario had a reasonable belief that the girl was 21 years old, and everyone who had come into contact with the girl at the barracks believed she was an adult.
When the girl was found at the barracks by law enforcement, she gave a fictitious name and date of birth, and law enforcement could not identify her.
The government entered 18 exhibits into evidence, while the defense entered one. The government’s exhibits included the charge sheet, photos of the girl, her Tinder profile, text messages between the teen and Rosario, plus several interviews of the teen, Rosario, his roommate and others. Rosario read his rights and did not make a statement in the courtroom.
FOX 5’s Zara Barker contributed to this story.