If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.
A Maine National Guardsman is accused of physically and sexually assaulting a fellow soldier while deployed on a mission at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Arizona Daily Independent reported.
Bret Chapman, 26, of Walpole, was indicted on August 26 by a grand jury in Cochise County, Arizona on four felony charges. He has been charged with kidnapping, two counts of sexual abuse and one count of aggravated assault, according to Michael Powell, deputy attorney for Arizona’s Cochise County.
According to the Arizona Daily Independent, a female soldier reported that in December 2020, Chapman had restrained and sexually assaulted her while they were both deployed in Arizona.
Chapman was booked at the Cochise County Jail on Aug. 27 and posted bail, but cannot leave Arizona without court permission. It’s unclear if a public defender has been appointed for him, Powell said.
Chapman was part of a 120-soldier deployment of the Maine National Guard sent to assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border in October 2020, the Arizona newspaper reported.
The Maine National Guard, which is aware of the charges, said it couldn’t discuss specifics, but it encouraged soldiers to report such behavior.
“Sexual assault and all forms of harassment are repugnant and beyond unacceptable — they stand in stark opposition to Army values and what it means to wear our nation’s uniform. We actively encourage reporting incidents and commend those who do,” said Maj. Carl Lamb.
The 262nd Engineer Company deployed to the southern border in October to assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. It’s due to return this fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.