Marine Accused of Sexually Assaulting 14-Year-Old Girl Claims She Lied About Her Age

Chris Park

A Marine who is being accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at Camp Pendleton claims she lied to him about her age. The defendant's attorneys argued that he was deceived into sleeping with her during a two-hour preliminary hearing held on Thursday.


Private First Class Avery Rosario, the individual accused of the crime, was detained shortly after the girl was found sleeping in his room on the base. 

The Marine, who has been identified as Private First Class Avery Rosario, claims the teen lied about her age several times, and claims he believed she was 21 years old during their alleged consensual sex in the barracks at Camp Pendleton in June.

Rosario was brought into the courtroom handcuffed. No cameras or recording devices were allowed inside the courtroom.

The government and defense both had a chance to make closing arguments. The government opted to submit theirs in writing, while the defense shared a PowerPoint presentation with facts of the case, and also submitted arguments in writing. The presentation was the only time information was shared, which detailed Rosario’s side of the story.

According to the defense’s arguments, Rosario had a Tinder profile, where he met the girl, who went by a fictitious name and identified herself in her Tinder bio as 21 years old. Her Tinder bio also read, “yeahhh ik I look young but hey when I’m 30 I’ll look like I’m in my 20s.”

The defense claimed the girl reached out to Rosario on Tinder first, initiated the conversation, and then initiated them messaging on Instagram on June 26. This would have been more than two weeks since the girl reportedly went missing. On June 26, the defense claims the girl suggested she stay at Rosario’s house, but he said he lived in the barracks. Allegedly, she suggested they get a hotel. Rosario planned to pick her up as another Marine, LCPL Rios, reportedly drove. He brought her back to the barracks, where the defense said they had consensual sex.

The defense claimed Rosario asked the girl her age multiple times, where she replied, “21.”

In interviews with Rosario’s roommate, he claimed he heard the girl moaning, did not hear the woman in distress, did not hear “no” or any “tussling.”


Rosario's defense presented a recorded conversation between him and the girl that occurred between June 26 and June 28, the day she was found at Camp Pendleton. This came over two weeks after her grandmother reported the girl missing to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Her grandmother reported her missing June 13 after she had run away from home four days earlier. The grandmother said the girl had run away before but always returned home quickly, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities entered the girl’s information into missing persons databases, including that of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the sheriff’s department has said.

Capt. Charles Palmer of the 1st Marine Logistics Group explained that the defendant is also facing a charge of violating liberty restriction from a previous unrelated matter.

The two individuals began interacting on June 26 after meeting on the Tinder app. The defense said the girl suggested they get a hotel room. Eventually, Rosario picked her up and took her to the barracks where he had sex with her. The morning after, the defendant left to attend a work party and two other individuals saw and spoke with her.

Defense attorneys also argued that the teen lied during statements given to investigators. She claimed a man named "Hector" was sex trafficking her. This individual had access to her social media accounts and set up her encounter with Rosario. The girl also said she did not wish to return to her parents, claiming they were also sex trafficking her.


Shortly after the girl was found, members of her family accused the military of trying to cover up the incident. In a TikTok video, her aunt said her niece had been sold to a soldier for sex.

If convicted, Rosario could be facing up to 30 years in prison. Military court officials will give their recommendation as to whether the case should proceed to a court-martial where the matter will be decided by a military jury.


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