A Marine recruiter in Arkansas was arrested Friday for allegedly using his position of trust and authority to have sex with an underage prospective recruit.

Independence County police arrested Staff Sgt. Duncan Quade Weathers, 27, on charges of sexual assault in the first degree, according to Sheriff Shawn Stephens and court documents.

“The platform of Marine Recruiter allowed Duncan Weathers the ability and opportunity to make contact with a range of young children in multiple school districts,” Zach Rawlins, a lieutenant with the Independence County Sheriff’s Department, wrote in an affidavit Wednesday. “This platform provided Duncan Weathers with a position of trust and authority over these minor children; with the purpose of providing these children with knowledge and a pathway into a respectful career.”

“Duncan Weathers used this platform to contact this minor child and engage in sexual intercourse with the minor child,” he continued.

Rawlins stated in the affidavit that he spoke Monday with a mother and father who said that a Marine recruiter had made sexual contact with their minor daughter.

The parents told Rawlins that they had discovered the alleged sexual assault after finding nude images of Weathers in her phone, as well as a photo of Weathers in bed with the child. Police later confirmed that these images were in the phone, the affidavit states.

Rawlins also spoke with the child, who told him that she met Weathers at a career fair at her school in late September or early October, and that she had been interested in a career with the Marines. After sending nude images to the child and requesting ones from her, Weathers had sexual intercourse with her in October, she told Rawlins, according to the affidavit.

The child also told the police officer that Weathers had previously said “he wanted his relationship with recruits to be on more of a friendly basis.”

Weathers claimed to Rawlins in a subsequent interview that the minor was not interested in joining the Marines, but he was not able to give the police officer a good reason for being in contact with her, according to the affidavit. He admitted that he had gone to the child’s workplace once.

“[W]hen pressed on other known locations Duncan requested to stop questioning without legal advice,” Rawlins noted in the affidavit.

Per Arkansas law, when “a person in a position of trust or authority over the victim” has sex with someone under 18, that constitutes sexual assault in the first degree.

Marine officials have removed Weathers, who worked at Recruiting Sub-Station Little Rock, from canvassing duty and ordered him to halt his work obligations, according to 1st Lt. Tyler Maschal, a spokesperson for the Corps’ southern recruiting district.

Both the Marine Corps and Weathers are “fully cooperating” with police investigators, Maschal told Marine Corps Times in a statement.

“The Marines in this command are required to uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct at all times while on and off duty,” Maschal said in the statement to Marine Corps Times. “We will investigate any and all allegations of misconduct and hold our Marines accountable for actions that are contrary to our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.”

Weathers was offered release on $20,000 bond, according to court documents. Stephens, the local sheriff, told Marine Corps Times that Weathers has been released but not through a cash bond, meaning he may have used a loan from a bail bondsman.

Contact information for Weathers or his lawyer was not immediately available.

The arrest warrant was first reported by local ABC affiliate KAIT 8.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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