Monday, February 14, 2011

Charlotte army recruiter arrested on sexual assault charges

Posted By on Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 3:11 PM

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Thursday, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police took a U.S. Army sergeant Charlie Landrum Ingram, 45, into custody on charges that he allegedly assaulted a woman who was signing up for the army. The alleged incident happened last Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Army recruiting office located at 440 McCullough Drive.

Ingram allegedly made inappropriate sexual comments toward her. Then, he reportedly took her into a supply room where he sexually assaulted her.  The victim told police that she  attempted to leave the room, but Ingram pushed her into the corner of the room and continued to fondle her.  The victim was finally able to escape the assault when someone came into the building, startling the suspect.

He was taken to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and given a bail amount of $5,000, for the four misdemeanor charges.

Anyone with information regarding this case or any other incidents involving Ingram is asked to contact Detective Banner with the Sexual Assault Unit, at abanner@cmpd.org or 704-336-8279.

Ingram's case highlights an issue the Army has been dealing with since 2005, recruiters facing sex charges. According to The Army Times, there have been case across the country dealing with this issue — including the dismissal of 15 recruiters in Indiana in 2009.

The former recruiter, Sgt. Eric P. Vetesy, 39, is expected to plead guilty Friday in the Hamilton County case. He faces 39 charges relating to sexual misconduct with females he recruited — mostly high school teenagers — when he appears in court in Noblesville.

The state’s top Guard recruiting official said the dismissals since Vetesy’s arrest, though troublesome, show that new rules and procedures implemented to prevent and expose sex-related wrongdoing in Guard recruiting are working.

“In other words, violations stopped being swept under the rug,” Lt. Col. Ivan E. Denton noted in an update to the National Guard Bureau in Washington earlier this year.

Denton, who oversees nearly 200 Guard recruiters statewide, has logged and investigated 36 sex-related complaints since the February 2005 indictment of Vetesy.

Last year in California, an Army recruiter was arrested after a mall security guard saw him having sex with a 17-year-old girl, who police said was a potential army recruit, in the parking lot of a mall.

Christian Rigal Mercado, 25, who worked as a recruiter at the Army's office on Mount Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino, was suspended from his recruiting duties while the incident was investigated, the newspaper reported.

A 2006 Associated Press report uncovered these facts about sex abuse in the military:

The Army, which accounts for almost half of the military, has had 722 recruiters accused of rape and sexual misconduct since 1996.Across all services, one out of 200 frontline recruiters — the ones who deal directly with young people — was disciplined for sexual misconduct last year.

Some cases of improper behavior involved romantic relationships, and sometimes those relationships were initiated by the women.

Most recruiters found guilty of sexual misconduct are disciplined administratively, facing a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay; military and civilian prosecutions are rare.

The increase in sexual misconduct incidents is consistent with overall recruiter wrongdoing, which has increased from just over 400 cases in 2004 to 630 cases in 2005, according to a General Accounting Office report.

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