Decorated Navy lieutenant commander arrested in Virginia on sex trafficking charges

A decorated Navy lieutenant commander was arrested in Virginia last week on sex trafficking charges.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Cranston, who serves as a security officer with the U.S. Fleet Forces Command’s Anti-Terrorism Force Protection unit in Norfolk, was taken into custody by civilian authorities, a Navy official confirmed to Task & Purpose Monday.

“The Navy takes this matter seriously and is fully cooperating with law enforcement,” said Lt. Cmdr. Madisyn Hansen.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Milton Cranston, Jr. (Henrico County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office)

NAVY NUCLEAR ENGINEER CHARGED WITH TRYING TO PASS SECRETS

Cranston, who enlisted in the Navy in April 1994 and commissioned as an officer in June 2006, is now being held without bond at the Henrico County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 10.

Cranston was promoted to lieutenant commander in September 2016, while Navy records show his awards and decorations include the Joint Service Commendation Medal, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

A spokesperson for the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office could not provide more details on the case when reached by Fox News.

In this Sept. 17, 2012, file photo, the littoral combat ship USS Forth Worth arrives at the port of Galveston, Texas, to prepare for its formal commissioning ceremony.

In this Sept. 17, 2012, file photo, the littoral combat ship USS Forth Worth arrives at the port of Galveston, Texas, to prepare for its formal commissioning ceremony.
(Thomas B. Shea/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The sex trafficking case against Cranston comes after a Military Times report in June 2020 exposed details of another sex trafficking operation involving multiple Navy sailors in Bahrain. It included the housing of prostitutes and “seizing the women’s passports and taking a cut of the women’s earnings, profiting from a sex trade that serviced shipmates who lived on the island or came ashore during port calls.”

A lieutenant commander as well as at least fixe chiefs and six other sailors have been charged or administratively disciplined in connection to that case since 2017, the Military Times reported.

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The USS Ronald Reagan

The USS Ronald Reagan
(iStock)

In an audio recording of an all-hands meeting with sailors that was obtained by the Military Times, then-Vice Adm. John Aquilino could be heard saying that the trafficking cases “have spanned rates and ranks, and the large number of them are senior and khakis.”

“Who thinks it’s okay to bring foreign nationals into this nation and take their passport and push them out for service to both yourself and anyone else, one of your buds?” Aquilino asked. “Who thinks that’s okay?”

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