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May 17, 2022
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National Guard member at U.S.-Mexico border charged with sexual abuse

National Guard member at U.S.-Mexico border charged with sexual abuse

A Maine National Guard member assigned to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona has been charged with kidnapping, sexual abuse and aggravated assault, according to a grand jury indictment.

Bret Chapman allegedly restrained a colleague, engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact with her, and assaulted her “while her capacity to resist was substantially impaired,” according to charging documents filed Aug. 26 in Cochise County, Arizona.

Deputy County Attorney Michael A. Powell said by email that Chapman was arrested Aug. 27, posted bond and was released.

It was unclear whether Chapman had retained a lawyer, and the Cochise County Public Defender’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Maj. Carl Lamb of the Maine National Guard said its chain of command would weigh possible discipline while cooperating with Arizona authorities.

“The Maine National Guard is aware of the charges pending for this individual,” he said in a statement. “Sexual assault and all forms of harassment are repugnant and beyond unacceptable — they stand in stark opposition to Army values and what it means to wear our nation’s uniform.”

The indictment appears to cover one alleged victim and says the alleged crimes took place in December.

Chapman was a member of the 262nd Engineer Company deployed to the border last year to provide support for Customers and Border Patrol agents amid an influx of migrants.

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press

contributed.

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