A recruiter for the U.S. Army sent suggestive text messages to underage students and had sexual intercourse with them, according to a complaint unsealed on Friday in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Jose Nieves, Jr., a 30-year-old Staff Sergeant, is accused of having sexual intercourse with a pair of 17-year-old female students. The army recruiter is also accused of sharing provocative photos of one of the girls with yet another underage student.
Nieves met one of the students in January and the other approximately two months later.
They began having text-messaging relationships that eventually led to sex in his car, according to the complaint.
Sergeant David Harris was quoted as saying, “This obviously does not represent the Army and what we stand for. We take all allegations of recruiter misconduct seriously.”
The accused recruiter was prohibited from performing recruiting duties and was assigned to other tasks.
Nieves was arrested on Friday morning and will be jailed until Tuesday.
Brian Silber, Nieves’ lawyer, said, “I cannot make a specific statement. I have not met him in the jail yet since he’s been arrested. We take the charges very seriously, and it’s important for the public to remember that like any other person accused of a crime, he’s innocent until proven guilty.”
According to the complaint, the recruiter gave rides to both of the victims and performed sexual acts with them on a regular basis.
Information extracted from one of the victim’s mobile phone revealed that Nieves also persuaded one of the victims to send explicit photos of herself to his phone. Nieves sent her photos to yet another student who was also 17 years old.
Federal prosecutor Catherine Koontz stated that the army recruiter could serve a prison sentence ranging from 10 years to life.
When contacted on Friday afternoon, Nieves’ wife had no comment.
Harris was also quoted as saying, “If any of the allegations are substantiated, the Army has a no-tolerance policy, and he will be dealt with as far as discharge from the Army,”
There has been an increase in the number of arrests of Army recruiters accused of similar charges. Last year in Florida, ten recruiters were charged; there were four such charges in 2013. Florida has almost 700 recruiters.