By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – A 19-year-old soldier stationed at a U.S. Army base in Colorado accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet has been arrested amid an ongoing probe of sexual misconduct at the post, police said on Wednesday
Mark Vincent Petrosky, a private assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, was arrested by Colorado Springs police on Tuesday on suspicion of sexual assault of a child, police said in a written statement.
The arrest came a week after Fort Carson officials said they were investigating allegations that several soldiers at the base had engaged in sexual misconduct with underage girls.
Police spokeswoman Barbara Miller said she could not confirm if Petrosky was among those being investigated by military authorities but that the case “involved similar patterns” as the Army probe. The alleged incident did not occur on the military installation.
A Fort Carson spokeswoman would not say if Petrosky was one of the targets of their investigation.
The arrest is the latest development in a series of sexual misconduct allegations in the armed forces. A study released by the Pentagon in May said reports of unwanted sexual contact in the military rose by more than one-third between 2011 and 2012.
Police in the Petrosky case said the girl told detectives that she met Petrosky on a website and the pair exchanged text messages over a period of several weeks earlier this year.
Ultimately, they met in person and had a sexual encounter in Petrosky’s vehicle in a parking lot adjacent to a city lake that is not on the military post, police said.
Separately, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is conducting its own investigation into another Fort Carson soldier suspected of having sex with a minor.
Lieutenant Jeff Kramer described that probe as “underneath the umbrella” of the military investigations, but no arrests have been made.
Petrosky, who is listed in Army records as a “Bradley Fighting Vehicle system maintainer” with the 3rd Brigade Armored Combat Team, is being held on a $16,000 bond, according to jail records.
He has been in the Army for one year and his hometown is listed as Landing, New Jersey.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Bernard Orr)
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