A recently retired Marine sergeant major and commander of a California Young Marines unit was charged with misdemeanor child molestation in November, court records show.
Retired Sgt. Maj. Jason Deitschman, 49, pleaded “not guilty” to one count of “annoying or molesting a child” on Nov. 27, according to court documents, The Mercury News first reported.
Deitschman is currently out on bail, his lawyer, Elliot Silver, told Marine Corps Times in a Thursday phone call.
Deitschman enlisted in the Corps in 1989 and retired in 2019 after spending almost his entire 30-year career in the Marine Corps Reserves, Maj. Craig Thomas, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Marine Corps Times Thursday.
Since 2010 Deitschman served as a deputy with the Alameda, California, County Sheriff’s office and he spent the past six years commanding the Golden Gate Young Marines.
Deitschman has been placed on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office with pay pending the outcome of the trial, a spokesman for the force told Marine Corps Times in a Thursday phone call.
Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly said the sheriff’s office has launched an internal investigation in Deitschman in addition to the criminal investigation against him. The department is currently unaware of any other alleged victims, he said.
The alleged victim was a teenage girl in Deitschman’s Young Marines unit, Mercury News reported.
Court documents obtained by Mercury News said the alleged victim told a detective about a time in June when Deitschman allegedly gave her a back massage and unstrapped her bra.
At some point during the massage Deitschman allegedly “moved his hands to her buttocks” and “put his hands underneath her shorts,” the paper reported.
The alleged victim showed the detective “numerous inappropriate text messages” allegedly from Deitschman.
“Many of the text messages were sexually inappropriate in nature," the court documents said.
“We have zero tolerance for this behavior and insist that the health, safety and welfare of every Young Marine is, always has been and always will be, our number one priority,” retired Marine Col. William Davis, the current national executive director and CEO of Young Marines, told Marine Corps Times in a Thursday email.
Young Marines is a nonprofit organization that works with children ranging from age eight through high school seniors to promote “mental, moral and physical development of its members” and mirrors “the values of the Marine Corps,” according to its website.
Davis said Deitschman was “immediately removed from the active roles of the organization” as soon as they found out about the accusations, but “any final decision" on Deitschman’s future with the organization "will be evaluated pending the outcome of any investigation or criminal proceedings by the appropriate authorities.”
Silver is “vigorously preparing” Deitschman’s defense, citing his client’s long years of service as a sign of good character.
“Deitschman is a decorated military veteran, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for 30 years. He has been a sworn peace officer for almost 10 years with an exemplary track record," Silver said.