Three Navy sailors charged in connection to July sexual assault

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Three Navy sailors surrendered themselves to police Monday morning on charges stemming from the alleged sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl.

The three men, electrician's mate 3rd Class Gabriel Dominguez, 21, of Manteca, Calif.; machinist's mate 2nd class Benjamin Boyter, 22, of Woodruff, S.C.; and machinist's mate 1st Class Keith Douglass, 23, of Schoolcraft, Mich., are assigned to the USS Philadelphia, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine that returned to port in February and is in the process of being decommissioned.

Dominguez is charged with aggravated first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a child, said Groton City police Lt. Bob Martin. Boyter and Douglass are charged with risk of injury to a child. The charges stem from an incident that occurred sometime in July 2009, Martin said.

The men were arraigned Monday in New London and had their cases moved from G.A. 10 to the upper level court, where more serious cases are heard, according to the court clerk's office. They are due to return to court on April 28, where they are expected to enter pleas.

Court records show Dominguez is being held on $150,000 cash bond. Boyter and Woodruff were released from custody Monday on $50,000 surety.

Groton city police would not provide details of the alleged assault. Arrest warrants in the case were not available this morning.

The three sailors remain on active duty while the investigation continues, said Lt. Patrick Evans, the public information officer for Submarine Group 2, which is based at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.

"The Navy holds our sailors to a high standard of conduct," Evans said in a statement to The Day. "When any sailor is accused of engaging in criminal activity, the Navy reserves the option to conduct a separate investigation and has various punitive and non-punitive avenues to hold sailors accountable for their actions."

Evans said the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has been notified of the incident and has been cooperating with local and state police.

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