Sailor sentenced for violating privacy of female officers on Navy vessel
A military judge sentenced a sailor to 21 months of confinement after he pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he recorded or attempted to record seven women without their knowledge while he was serving aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Under a pre-sentencing agreement, Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryce Mezney will serve 12 months of that sentence. Commander Heather Partridge also reduced his rank to seaman and gave him a dishonourable discharge.
Mezney, 22, had access to female berthing on the aircraft carrier during its 2015 deployment while the former Norfolk-based carrier was also in the process of completing a homeport switch to San Diego. While he had that access, Mezney attempted to record five junior officers and a civilian employee by holding up his phone to a grate in their stateroom doors. Mezney was caught after a seventh woman, an officer, spotted him using a phone to record her while she was changing.
That officer cried while she testified Thursday that the incident caused her to have temporary problems sleeping and left her feeling uneasy on the ship.
“I was forced to stay on the ship even though I didn’t feel comfortable where I worked,” she said.
Mezney joined the Navy in 2012. He cried as he apologized to his victims, his wife, mother and others in the courtroom. Mezney said, “I was being very stupid to record someone who should feel safe,”.
Mezney said he did not know any of the women involved in the case. His civilian attorney, Rick Morris, asked the judge to consider a six-month sentence, forfeiture of pay and allowances and a reduction in rank to the seaman. Morris asked Partridge to consider his youthful age, a strong military career, and upbringing in a small Colorado farming community.
Mezney had already taken his wrongful actions “to heart,” Morris said.
Navy prosecutor Lt. Jeffrey Marden had argued that Mezney should face at least three years’ confinement for violating the trust the Navy placed upon him. Mezney worked as a hull maintenance technician and had been responding to trouble calls in female restrooms, called heads when he admitted to the incidents. He said he did not share the videos but watched them in his workspace.
“He’s the one who’s supposed to be setting the example here,” Marden said. ”This wasn’t some brand new seaman.”
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Source: Pilot Online