(Washingon Post) Last fall, the Navy Department had a controversial disciplinary case before it: Maj. Jason C. Brezler had been asked by Marine colleagues to submit all the information he had about an influential Afghan police chief suspected of abusing children. Brezler sent a classified document in response over an unclassified Yahoo email server, and he self-reported the mistake soon after. But the Marine Corps recommended that he be discharged for mishandling classified material.
The Navy Department, which oversees the Marine Corps, had the ability to uphold or overturn the decision. However, rather than just looking at the merits of the case, Navy officials also assessed that holding new hearings on the case would renew attention on the scandal surrounding child sex abuse in Afghanistan, according to military documents newly disclosed in federal court.
The documents, filed Tuesday in a lawsuit by Brezler against the Navy Department and Marine Corps, also show that Marine and Navy officials in Afghanistan were aware in 2012 of allegations of abuse against children by the Afghan police chief but that the chief was allowed to keep his position in Helmand province anyway. This became a major issue after a teenage boy who worked for the chief — and allegedly was abused by him — opened fire on a U.S. base Aug. 10, 2012, killing three Marines and badly wounding a fourth.
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The five-page legal review, written last October by Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Kassotis for Vice Adm. James W. Crawford III, the judge advocate general of the Navy, recommended that the Marine Corps’ actions against Brezler be upheld. Calling for a new administrative review, known as a Board of Inquiry, would delay actions in the case another six to nine months and possibly increase attention on the case, “especially in the aftermath of significant media attention to the allegations regarding the practice of keeping personal sex slaves in Afghanistan,” Kassotis wrote. A month later in November, acting assistant Navy secretary Scott Lutterloh upheld the Marine Corps’ decision.