Military prosecutors accused Howard of pretending to be someone else by "spoofing" phone numbers to text-message victims and request nude photos under false pretenses.
Lt. Kirwinn Mike, a Navy prosecutor, claimed Howard had in one incident pretended to be a female performance dietitian who was assigned to SEAL Team 6, The Virginian-Pilot reported. According to Mike, Howard texted a woman that he could provide a body-fat analysis if she sent a photo of herself naked from the neck down.
"It's 100% safe," one text message said. "You don't have to worry."
Howard was accused of soliciting nude photos from two civilians and a female sailor. Charges involving the female sailor were later dropped and the jury found Howard not guilty of charges related to one of the civilians.
Investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said they were able to trace the internet address of the text messaging apps used to Howard's home address, according to The Virginian-Beach Pilot. But Howard's attorneys argued that their client was wrongfully accused, and the text messages could've come from anywhere.
According to Navy Times:
Howard's military defense counsel, Marine Capt. Douglas Germano, said the prosecution sought a sentence of 18 months behind bars and a dishonorable discharge. Germano said he was glad that the jury recognized Howard's service to his country by delivering a verdict that will allow him to seek a medical retirement.
Reading a prepared statement before his sentencing, Howard, 34, indicated that he needed medical care for the hidden wounds of war, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, hearing loss and traumatic brain injury.
The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Michael Waddington, Howard's civilian attorney.
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