An Army Ranger instructor at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida was arrested Monday and charged with sexual battery of a minor.

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Cruz, a Ranger instructor with the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child by providing her alcohol.

On March 29, the 39-year-old took the minor with him to purchase beer, then they went to Navarre Beach, according to the arrest report provided by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Cruz said he and the girl went swimming, then stopped by Taco Bell before he took the girl home. According to the report, the girl said Cruz took her to the beach, gave her beer, offered her $50 to go skinny dipping, then forcibly engaged in sexual intercourse in his vehicle.

Army Times does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

The day after the alleged incident, the girl was taken to the hospital after inappropriate photos of her were found on Cruz’s phone, according to the arrest report.

The medical examiner found bruising on the girl’s inner thighs and other evidence of sexual assault. This prompted the hospital to contact the authorities.

Investigators obtained a verbal seizure and search authorization from the federal magistrate, which allowed them to seize Cruz’s phone and vehicle.

According to the report, one of Cruz’s friends told investigators that Cruz said he had sex with the girl, but that it was consensual.

Cruz was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail on a bond of $750,000, the report said.

The soldier has been in the Army for 13 years, according to Eglin Air Force Base.

Camp Rudder, located on Eglin’s reservation, hosts the third and final phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School’s 62-day training course.

The 6th Ranger Training Battalion said they take such allegations seriously but couldn’t say anything else about the incident or Cruz.

Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at

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