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Petty officer accepts plea bargain in underage sex case

Aug. 6, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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A petty officer assigned to the attack submarine Pittsburgh who was charged with raping a 14-year-old girl in upstate New York pleaded guilty Monday to the lesser charge of sexual misconduct, local media reported.

Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SU) Joshua Leedham had been charged with second-degree rape and other charges in May, according to a report by The Saratogian. With the plea, Leedham must register as a sex offender and spend 30 days in jail. He’ll be banned from seeing the victim — a girl he met via an online dating site and communicated with for more than a year, the report says.

Media reports, citing court documents, list Leedham as 19 years old. Navy records say Leedham is 21 and enlisted in August 2010. His duty stations included Nuclear Power Training Unit Ballston Spa, N.Y. — about a 30-minute drive from Northumberland, where Saratoga County prosecutors say Leedham and the girl had sex.

He left Ballston Spa in June 2012 and joined the crew of the Pittsburgh in July of that year, personnel records show.

Leedham remains on active duty and assigned to the sub, Submarine Group 2 spokesman Lt. Tim Hawkins said via email. Hawkins said he would not comment on “administrative proceedings” regarding Leedham or on the sailor’s status in the Navy judicial system, citing privacy concerns.

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