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Marine Faces Charges

Recruiter is alleged to have raped a Corona girl at Riverside station. Corps will prosecute.

June 04, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A U.S. Marine Corps recruiter was charged by military authorities Tuesday with raping a 17-year-old girl at a Riverside recruiting station and groping another young woman while he was on duty.

William Clayton Bragg, 32, of Murrieta was charged with rape, adultery, indecent assault, obstruction of justice and other violations.

A grand-jury-like investigation of Bragg's case is scheduled to begin June 27, when a military officer will determine if a court-martial is warranted.

The 17-year-old girl, a potential recruit from Corona whose boyfriend had recently joined the Marines, told police she was alone with Bragg in the recruiting station after a physical conditioning class April 10 when she was raped.

Bragg, married and a Marine for 13 years, pleaded not guilty to one felony rape charge in Riverside County Superior Court in April.

The Riverside County district attorney's office agreed to let the military try Bragg first, after he waived his right to a speedy public trial.

Maj. Paul M. Schimpf, the lead military prosecutor in the case, said the indecent assault charge stems from the second woman's accusation that Bragg groped her. That allegation arose during the original investigation by the Riverside Police Department, said Marine Lt. Beatriz Yarrish.

A first-time rape offender could be sentenced to five to 10 years in a federal penitentiary, time that could be extended if Bragg is found guilty of the additional charges, military experts said.

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