By Pat Reavy
Sept. 2, 2009
A U.S. Marine recruiter has been arrested after he was accused of
having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl he had met
during one of his high school recruitment sessions.
Trevor Adam Hooper, 26, of Centerville, was booked into the Salt Lake
County Jail for investigation of four counts of unlawful sexual
activity with a minor, all third-degree felonies, and sexual
exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.
Sgt. Damian McGee, who works at the Salt Lake City Marine recruiting
headquarters, said the Marine Corps takes allegations of misconduct
"It is the professional character of our recruiters, exhibiting our
core values of honor, courage and commitment, that continues to earn
the trust and respect of the community," McGee said. "When our
recruiters break this trust, it is inconsistent with these values. We
are dedicated to holding our Marines accountable for their actions,
and this case will be no exception."
All U.S. Marine recruiters are trained on ethics and proper conduct
before being selected for the job, he said.
Hooper, who is currently on active duty, went to various high schools
in the Salt Lake Valley as a recruiter, to encourage students to join
the Marine Corps. McGee said it is common practice to send recruiters alone.
Police say Hooper met the girl at a Salt Lake County high school in
April, according to Salt Lake County Jail records. Investigators were
called in May, after the girl's father discovered a computer memory
card in his daughter's backpack, jail records state.
The father had spotted his daughter trying to sneak inside the house
late one night. He checked her backpack and looked at what was on the
memory card. On it, he found both photos and videos of his daughter
engaged in sex acts with an unidentified man, according to jail reports.
Sheriff's deputies interviewed the girl, who told them the man in the
pictures was a military recruiter at school. She said "he picked her
up and drove her to a motel, where the sexual activity occurred. (The
girl) said the sexual activity was photographed and videoed on her
camera by Trevor," a jail report states.
The man in the pictures had identifiable marks, according to jail
records, such as moles and scars. A search warrant was executed on
Hooper, after which he was placed into custody.
It is unknown what action the Marine Corps will take on Hooper.
According to McGee, courts-martial have exclusive jurisdiction over
purely military offenses.
"In the case of an offense that violates the Uniform Code of Military
Justice and the criminal law of a state, other federal law or all
three, it must be determined which jurisdiction will prosecute," he
said, adding that a military lawyer and other prosecuting agencies
will make the decision of which agency will prosecute.
It is unknown whether standard operating procedures involving high
school recruitment will change in light of this arrest, and McGee
affirms that Marines are expected to follow "very stringent rules."
"Our recruiters are ambassadors of the Marine Corps in the
communities where they live and work," he said. "It is important not
only that all Marines know how to properly interact with their
community, but also with each other and their (recruits)."
All Marines are held to the same high standards of conduct, McGee
said. Mandatory monthly trainings and supervision are intended to
prevent such incidents from happening, he said.