Everett Navy CO reassigned after sexual assault allegation

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

EVERETT - The commanding officer of Naval Station Everett has been reassigned after an accusation that he sexually assaulted a woman in February.

Capt. James Duke has not been charged with a crime.

He is now waiting to appear in front of a Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding.

Chris Haley, Public Affairs Officer for the Commander, Navy Region Northwest, said the case was initially presented to Snohomish Co. investigators, who decided not to pursue the case. NCIS took over from there.

Capt. Duke has now been reassigned to another position under Commander, Navy Region Northwest, Rear. Adm. Jeff Ruth.

"The administrative reassignment of Capt. Duke is not an indication of guilt," Haley said in a statement. "However it does allow for continuous and unfettered leadership at Naval Station Everett."

Through his lawyer, Duke said Monday that he is innocent and is the "target of a malicious and false allegation." Everett lawyer Anna Goykhman says the accusation was made in retaliation for Duke's decision to end a relationship.

The woman who accused Capt. Duke of the sexual assault is a civilian and the incident did not happen at the naval station, Haley said. Capt. Duke is not married. The date for his hearing has not yet been set.

In the meantime Cmdr. Jeff Caulk, the executive officer of Naval Station Everett, has temporarily taken over the duties as commanding officer.

Contributing: Associated Press


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