The Navy will dismiss an officer convicted Friday and sentenced to 20 years for of sexually assaulting two women in separate incidents, a subordinate on his ship and a Hampton University student who said she woke up in her apartment to find a strange man in her bedroom.
Lt. j.g. Willie Jeter, 27, also will have to register as a sex offender. An all-male, five-member jury of officers concluded a four-day court martial at Norfolk Naval Station by convicting him of burglary, unlawful entry, conduct unbecoming an officer, communicating a threat and other charges. Most stemmed from two incidents in separate apartments in Hampton Harbor on Sept. 16.
Jeter also was convicted of sexual assault and extortion for a separate 2014 incident aboard the Norfolk-based USS Truxtun. Prosecutors said he abused his authority as an officer to get sex from a subordinate while the guided-missile destroyer was deployed.
“He takes advantage of situations where he has the upper hand,” Navy prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Mayo said during Friday’s sentencing.
In the September incidents, a Hampton University student testified she fell asleep watching a movie and woke up to find Jeter wearing only black boxer shorts and an orange or purple T-shirt and masturbating. She refused his demands to remove her pants and he left, but told her he had a gun and threatened her life.
Another student from a different building testified that the same night, after playing board games and drinking with female friends, she awoke to Jeter wearing only a T-shirt and boxers standing next to her bed masturbating. The woman said she thought she was dreaming and fell back asleep or passed out. When she reawakened, Jeter was in her bed assaulting her, she said.
The Virginian-Pilot typically does not identify victims of sexual assault.
When that woman asked Jeter who he was, he told her they had met “‘at the club. You know me,'” Mayo said during closing statements Thursday. Before leaving her apartment, Jeter asked the woman for her phone number, Mayo said.
“If he knows her, why does he need her phone number?” Mayo asked.
Police stopped Jeter around 5 a.m. after the first woman spotted him walking as she was riding in a car with a friend.
Mayo painted Jeter as a “brazen” officer who abused his power to exploit vulnerable women. In the Truxtun incident, Mayo said Jeter extorted sex from a junior enlisted sailor after he discovered her in a ship switchboard room having a sexual encounter with another man, in return for his not reporting her.
Jeter’s attorneys countered that the Truxtun sailor lied about being assaulted to get out of trouble for being caught in the other encounter. They suggested that the September incidents weren’t connected, but a case of mistaken identity as he left a party at the apartment of the second woman.
Lt. Cmdr. Paul Hochmuth said Jeter was incorrectly identified by the woman in the first September incident because he was dressed differently when stopped. Body camera footage taken by a Hampton University police officer showed Jeter wearing a white T-shirt and pants.
The footage also depicts the woman identifying Jeter from his face and posture.
“You can change your clothes, but you can’t change your face,” Mayo said.
Mayo said one of the students left the university after the incident, she said.
During sentencing, Jeter — who also was found guilty Friday of drunken driving in January on Joint Base Langley- Eustis — sobbed as he apologized to his victims, family and the court. He was commissioned in December 2011, according to a Navy biography.
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