Court-martial trial continues for Navy SEAL accused of kidnapping, rape

A courtroom sketch of Stephen Varanko III

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A verdict is expected to come down Friday in a court-martial trial for a locally based Navy SEAL charged with rape and kidnapping.

The charges Chief Special Warfare Operator Stephen Varanko III is faced with stem from an alleged 2015 incident with a female sailor in Kentucky. He is accused of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room during a training mission.

Varanko told his side of the story Wednesday in a courtroom video. He admitted in the video to having a secret relationship with the sailor for several years — while he was getting engaged to and eventually marrying his wife.

Navy SEAL faces court-martial on rape and kidnapping charges

Varanko admitted that he got jealous that she had dated another man, and said, “I lost my head.” He admitted to getting physical, but said he never hit her and did not hold her captive in his hotel room.

The female sailor testified Tuesday that Varanko held her captive in a jealous rage, attacked her and eventually raped her.

On Thursday, Varanko’s defense brought the victim’s credibility into question.

Varanko’s counsel brought two witnesses to the stand Thursday, both of whom at one point supervised the victim. Their testimony raised questions about her truthfulness and how she treated co workers.

One officer went as far as to call her two-faced and deceitful.

The prosecution countered. They attacked that officer’s credibility by pointing out he believed the victim had ruined his Navy career. Counsel also revealed to the court that the victim — despite these reports from her superiors — won Sailor of the Year.

Defense for Stephen Varanko rested just before lunch and closing arguments got underway Thursday afternoon.

Varanko is currently based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. He faces a lifetime without parole, if convicted.

Stay with for developments in the trial.