Marine charged with sexual assault of 14-year-old girl found at Camp Pendleton

The entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton is seen Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Oceanside, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A Marine has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl who was found at Camp Pendleton. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Military prosecutors have charged a Marine with sexual assault of a minor after a 14-year-old girl was found in June in the barracks of Camp Pendleton, officials said.

The teen girl was discovered June 28 on the military base, more than two weeks after she went missing from her Spring Valley home.

Relatives of the unidentified minor told The Times they suspect she had been sold to the Marine for sex and said they were concerned officials were trying to cover up the incident.

On Friday, Camp Pendleton officials announced that a Marine has been charged by military prosecutors with sexual assault of a minor but they declined to identify the suspect. Marine officials were not immediately available to say what prison time the marine faced if convicted.

The Marine also faces an unrelated charge of violating liberty restriction, meaning he failed to follow a rule or order about his time off — for example, being limited from leaving an area, or returning to base or barracks by a certain time.

An Aug. 17 preliminary hearing has been scheduled.

Read more: Family of 14-year-old girl found at Camp Pendleton demands answers

A spokesperson for Camp Pendleton said more details regarding the charges could not be released.

Officials said the Marine's identity would not be released unless the case was referred to a court-martial after the preliminary hearing.

Casaundra Perez, the girl's aunt, alleged in a previous interview with The Times that her niece was raped on the base, and has criticized how military officials handled the case.

In a statement Friday, Perez said she and her family were hoping for full accountability and transparency in the case.

"If the defense tries to settle, the family will not accept the [Marine's] plea deal unless he takes a maximum sentence, is dishonorably discharged and registers as a sex offender," she said.

Perez said she also wanted military officials to address what she said was mishandling of the case.

"We want full transparency, accountability and justice," she said.

In a previous interview, Perez said military police questioned her underage niece without a guardian present and before notifying her guardian that she had been found.

She said investigators suggested her niece had been communicating with the Marine and alleged he was her boyfriend, which she has said is false.

"She doesn't even know the Marine's name," she said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.