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Originally published September 2, 2014 at 7:12 PM | Page modified September 2, 2014 at 7:51 PM

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Marine recruiter charged with sexual misconduct with minor

A Marine recruiter has been charged with first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, accused of fondling and having sexual contact with a then-17-year-old prospective recruit. He has denied wrongdoing. His alleged victim, a former Eastside high-school student, no longer wants to join the Marines.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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King County prosecutors have charged a Marine recruiter with first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor nearly two years after he allegedly had sexual contact with a then-17-year-old Eastside high-school student.

Louis Henry Abalos, 33, of Renton, was charged Aug. 15 and entered a not-guilty plea on Tuesday, court records show.

Abalos, who was released on personal recognizance, was ordered not to contact his alleged victim, who is now 19.

The girl told investigators she felt pressured to participate in the sexual conduct because she “was afraid if she did not do it, she would not get a position in the Marines,” charging papers say.

The alleged misconduct happened between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2012, in the recruiter’s office and vehicle, the papers say.

A teacher noticed the girl — who was normally a good student — “had numerous unexplained absences and appeared depressed,” according to the charges. When asked what was wrong, the girl “reported what had happened with” Abalos, and school officials contacted the King County Sheriff’s Office, the papers say.

According to charging documents, prosecutors accuse Abalos of abusing his “supervisory position ... in order to engage in sexual intercourse” with the girl.

Though court documents list Abalos’ profession as a “recruiter” for the Marine Corps, it is unclear what his current status is now that he has been charged. Calls to a Marine Corps spokesman were not returned.

The Seattle Times wrote about the investigation last year based on investigative files released through a public-disclosure request. At the time the newspaper did not name Abalos because he had not been charged.

Though temporarily suspended from his position, Abalos returned to his job as a recruiter after a Marine Corps investigator didn’t find any evidence of unprofessional behavior and could not substantiate the alleged misconduct, a Marine spokesman told The Times last year.

Abalos, who lived in Bremerton at the time, has denied the allegations against him and said he never had any sexual contact with any of his potential recruits.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. DB Gates said Tuesday that her office has been working with the Marines and prosecutors throughout the investigation to determine if Abalos’ job met the statutory requirements of someone in a position of authority who has power and control over a minor, a basis for the sexual-misconduct charge.

“It seems like it’s a long time (to be under investigation), but it’s not necessarily unusual,” Gates said.

In September 2012, Abalos aided the girl doing situps and touched her thighs in a way that made her feel “uncomfortable,” charging papers say.

Then, after going over some sexual-harassment paperwork, Abalos is accused of taking the girl into a back office where he hugged her, lifted her onto his lap and kissed and fondled her breasts, charging papers say.

About a month later, Abalos drove the girl and a male recruit home. After dropping off the male, charging papers say, Abalos pulled the girl’s hand into his crotch, according to the charges.

That November, Abalos again took the girl into the back office, where he undid her pants and engaged in sexual conduct with her, say the charges, which also accuse Abalos of trying to get the girl to perform oral sex.

The girl, who graduated from high school in June 2013, gave up her dreams of being a Marine because of what happened with Abalos, a school official told The Times last year.

Seattle Times staff reporter Hal Bernton contributed to this story, which includes information from Times archives. Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com



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