Virginia Beach-based Navy SEAL charged with rape, kidnapping of sailor

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NORFOLK — A Navy SEAL has been charged with the kidnapping and rape of a fellow female sailor, according to the Navy.

According to charge sheets obtained by Southside Daily, Virginia Beach-based Chief Special Warfare Operator Stephen Varanko III, while on active duty, held the sailor against her will before raping her on Feb. 26, 2015.

Descriptions of the charges allege that Varanko — who is charged with four counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of battery — placed his hands around the woman’s neck, squeezing so that she could not breathe, to “produce death or grievous bodily harm,” pinned the woman on the floor using his knee and used a submission hold to prevent her from moving.

Court documents also said that between March and May 2015, Varanko sexually harassed the same sailor in Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana.

Originally from Maryland, Varanko enlisted in the Navy in November 2006 and reported to the Special Warfare Unit in September 2008, according to Navy biographical information.

Officials said that Varanko was most recently assigned to the Special Reconnaissance Team Two at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

According to the Navy, Varanko is scheduled to appear at a general court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk on Tuesday morning.

Poulter can be reached at amy@localvoicemedia.com