Sailor Briefly in Irish Custody After Alleged Sexual Assault

A U.S. sailor attached to the destroyer Donald Cook is back in the hands of the Navy after being taken into custody by Irish authorities on suspicion of sexual assault.

The alleged assault took place Wednesday at a Dublin Hotel while the Cook made a port visit to Cobh, Ireland, U.S. 6th Fleet spokeswoman Capt. Pamela Kunze told The incident was first reported by Navy Times on Thursday.

Kunze said Irish authorities on Thursday released the sailor back to the Navy without filing charges. The service is investigating the incident, she added.

"Because the alleged assault is under investigation by the U.S. Navy, additional details will not be provided at this time," Kunze said. "The Navy takes every report of sexual assault seriously. Prevention is an all-hands effort, and we all work toward maintaining a culture that is intolerant of sexual assault."

Citing an internal Navy account of the incident, Navy Times reported the sailor is a chief petty officer who was assigned to the Rota, Spain-based Donald Cook on temporary duty status. The alleged victim in the assault was another sailor, the paper reported.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, John Murphy, told that the Navy is cooperating fully with An Garda Síochána, the local Irish police force, as they investigated the alleged incident.

"The U.S. Navy would like to express deep respect and gratitude to the people of Ireland for the personal friendship that they have extended to visiting U.S. servicemen and women," he said.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.