Trial set for senior petty officer

March 29, 2011 at 8:56 PM

NORFOLK, Va., March 29 (UPI) -- A military judge says a senior enlisted man on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush faces a long prison term if convicted of abusing sailors.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Kevin Curtis is scheduled for a general court-martial Monday, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported. He faces 32 counts, including physical assaults on sailors he commanded, disobeying orders, sloppy paperwork and borrowing $1,000 from a subordinate that was not repaid.

Curtis was the top enlisted man in law enforcement on the Bush.

Half the charges involve physical abuse. Sailors have described being hit with pepper spray, handcuffed and even having their skin stapled, but Curtis's lawyer says anything that happened was consensual roughhousing.

At a hearing Monday, Cmdr. Doug Barber, who has been assigned to hear the case, estimated Curtis faces almost 60 years in prison if he is convicted of all charges.

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