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Fort Meade soldier convicted of sexual assault, sentenced to three years

A member of a combat photography unit stationed at Fort George G. Meade will serve three years in confinement after being convicted of sexual assault by a court-martial.

Army Sgt. Nelson O. Rodriguez, who was part of the 55th Combat Camera unit, was initially charged with sexual assault, rape by force, attempted rape by force, aggravated assault, assault consummated by battery and obstruction of justice, according to a statement released by the Fort Meade garrison.

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After a five-day trial, a panel, the court-martial equivalent of a jury, found Rodriguez guilty of two counts of sexual assault and not guilty of the other charges, according to the statement.

The presiding judge sentenced Rodriguez to three years for each of the charges, which he will serve concurrently. Rodriguez was also demoted to private and given a dishonorable discharge.

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The incidents leading to the court-martial happened in 2018, while Rodriguez served as part of the 55th Combat Camera, garrison spokesperson Mary Doyle said. He was transferred to the Defense Media Activity during the court-martial.

The 55th Combat Camera is the only active-duty Combat Camera company in the Army. It provides still photos and video documentation of Army operations. Select members of the unit are qualified for airborne operations.

No other details about the case were immediately known.

Rodriguez’s conviction and court-martial come during the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The most recent Department of Defense report on sexual assault in the military, from fiscal year 2019, reported that 6,888 service members filed reports of sexual assault.

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The report also found that the number of sexual assault reports has continued to increase.

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