A board of inquiry is recommending that Capt. Brian Sorenson, a 25-year Navy vet, be reduced to an O-5 and removed from service with an ‘other-than-honorable’ discharge.
Sorenson’s sexual misconduct troubles began last summer, when he was commander of the USS Anzio. He was accused of propositioning one of his female officers for sex, in exchange for career advancement.
The Navy Times reports that Sorenson and his attorney argued before the panel this week that it was the other way around — the junior female officer had propositioned him. He also stated that a “series of inappropriate incidents and conversations overheard by the crew of cruiser Anzio were misconstrued.”
The former Navy commander described the victim as someone with a history of sexual promiscuity who dressed inappropriately at command functions and who was “angling for a disability rating based on sexual trauma at Sorenson’s expense.”
Sorenson denied under oath that he solicited the female officer for sex. He told the panel that the female officer said, “I’ll do whatever you want,” and went on to discuss sexual acts with him.
The board of inquiry didn’t buy it.
On Wednesday, the panel of three rear admirals ruled on the reduction to an O-5, which could cut Sorenson’s annual pension payment by more than $11,000. The final decision on the matter will be made by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
Following an investigation into the events that unfolded last August, during a “wetting down” party at a Virginia bar, Sorenson was found guilty, in January, of violating the service’s sexual harassment guidelines, of committing sexual misconduct and of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
In an article published by Popular Military back in February, it was reported that other female officers started coming forward to report occasions where Sorenson exhibited “creepy behavior” and made them feel uncomfortable.
Witnesses had overheard Sorenson and the JO discussing sex outside the bar. He reportedly invited her back to his stateroom the following day and according to the victim, he said: “If I give you your SWO pin, will you sleep with me?”
Sorenson’s attorney told the panel that the JO was “struggling to attain her SWO qualification and had encouraged Sorenson’s advances.”
The Times reported that the government’s attorney told the panel in his closing argument that the decision in this case would be ‘closely watched’.
“People will be watching and the impact of this will extend beyond these proceedings,” he said.
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