Hearing ends in Navy abuse case

Dec. 8, 2010 at 7:25 PM

NORFOLK, Va., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A preliminary hearing has ended for a senior chief petty officer charged with abusing U.S. sailors on board the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush.

Kevin Curtis's fate is up to Capt. Chip Miller, the carrier's commanding officer, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported. Miller will make the final decision on whether Curtis, the former head of security on the Bush, should be court-martialed.

Curtis allegedly physically abused subordinates. A parade of witnesses during the three-day hearing that ended Tuesday described being thrown against lockers and pepper-sprayed. Some said Curtis shot staples into their skin.

One of Curtis's lawyers described his actions as "excessive horseplay."

Other charges include failing to handle paperwork properly.

Only one witness testified for Curtis. Command Master Chief John Heck Jr., the senior enlisted man on the Bush, gave evidence by telephone from the carrier, which is at sea.

Heck said he had a "highly professional relationship" with Curtis and that no one complained to him about the alleged physical abuse.

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