A Southern California Navy official has been removed from his post after he allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to two female members of his command, Naval Surface Force officials confirmed on Thursday.
Navy officials say Cmdr. Allen Maestas, Executive Officer of the Coronado-based Beachmaster Unit 1 (BMU), allegedly sent inappropriate texts and emails to two enlisted female members of his command.
Navy officials would not comment on the exact content of the alleged texts and emails.
The Navy released the following statement Thursday regarding the removal of Maestas:
"The executive officer of Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 1 was relieved May 16 because of inappropriate comments sent in text messages and e-mails to members of his command. Cmdr. Allen Maestas was relieved by Commander of Naval Beach Group (NBG) 1, Capt. Kevin Flanagan. Lt. Cmdr. Geoffrey Belanger, BMU-1 operations officer, has assumed the duties as acting executive officer. A permanent relief is expected to arrive in June. Maestas has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of NBG-1. Beachmasters manage the transfer of equipment and personnel from ship to shore."
The Navy says Maestas first enlisted in 1985 as an Electrician's Mate before working his way up the ranks. He reported to BMU-1 as executive officer in April 2012. Over his career, he has earned the Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal, among other decorations.
Maestas’ removal comes on the heels of staggering new figures released by the Pentagon on the number of sexual assaults in the military.
Last week, Pentagon documents showed that up to 26,000 military members may have been sexually assaulted in the last year, indicating that unreported sexual assault in the military is a growing epidemic across the services.
Underscoring the problem, an Air Force officer in charge of its sexual-assault program, Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, was recently arrested in a Virginia parking lot for allegedly groping a woman.
And earlier this week, NBC News reported that a U.S. Army sergeant who coordinated a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program at Fort Hood, Texas, is being investigated for a host of sexual misconduct charges.
A Pentagon source told NBC News that the soldier is accused of having forced at least one subordinate into prostitution and of having sexually assaulted two others. He has been suspended from his job pending the probe by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and his identity has not been released.