Indian National Charged with Aggravated Sexual Abuse while Working as a U.S. Military Contractor in Afghanistan

An Indian national arrived in the U.S. yesterday after being ordered detained and removed to the U.S. for the alleged sexual assault of a U.S. national on a military base in Afghanistan. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia, Special Agent in Charge Ansuman Baral of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Bagram, Afghanistan Field Office and Assistant Director in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Lokesh Naik, 35, of India, was charged by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on Nov. 6, 2019, with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact.  U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan arrested Naik on Nov. 8, 2019, and his initial appearance was held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Harvey via video teleconference, at which time Naik was ordered detained and removed to the United States pursuant to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).  Naik arrived at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurston by a military transport aircraft in the custody of Deputy U.S. Marshals.    

According to the indictment, on Aug. 7, while working as an employee of a U.S. military contractor on Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan, Naik allegedly entered the room of a 24-year-old U.S. national and sexually assaulted her by force.   

Trial Attorney Jay Bauer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Hertzfeld of the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.  The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI’s Washington Field Office are investigating the case.  Invaluable assistance with the defendant’s transfer to civilian custody and removal to the United States was provided by the Department of Defense, United States Central Command, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marshals Service.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided valuable assistance.  

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Author: November 18, 2019

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