One of seven military police soldiers implicated in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was issued additional charges yesterday, as Army officials accused Pfc. Lynndie R. England of indecent acts with another soldier and indecent exposure, four days before she is supposed to appear at a preliminary court hearing in North Carolina.
A senior Pentagon official and an Army official confirmed that the charges were filed yesterday, and sources said the five modified counts stem from activity seen on numerous digital photographs seized during the investigation. The Army official said none of the charges involves "detainees or Iraqi nationals" and instead relate to England's alleged personal conduct last year while in Iraq.
A spokeswoman at Fort Bragg, N.C., where England is to go before an Article 32 investigation hearing Monday, said she had no information about the modified charges. The hearing on charges relating to a series of abuses was scheduled for last month but was postponed, in part so authorities could consider additional counts, sources said.
In dozens of images obtained by The Washington Post, England is captured in various stages of nudity and in explicit sexual poses with a male soldier. Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., another soldier with the 372nd MP Company, can be seen in some of the photographs.
Graner, 35, has been charged with abuses and has been described in an Army investigative report as a ringleader in the scandal. He was involved in a romantic relationship with England, 21, and England's attorneys have said that their client is six months pregnant with his child.
Graner's attorney did not return a call to his office yesterday.
England's attorneys said they were disappointed that the photos yielded new charges because the government has had them all along. One attorney said that the additional charges could increase England's potential jail time twofold to nearly 40 years, more than any other soldier charged in the abuse scandal.
"These are very personal photographs and they have absolutely nothing to do with Abu Ghraib," said Richard A. Hernandez, one of England's attorneys. "It's very indicative of her following orders. She's clearly a follower and not a leader."
Hernandez said England told him that the pictures were of her and Graner. He also said England, who is nearly 15 years younger than Graner and of lower rank, was just doing what she was told.
England has been stationed at Fort Bragg, performing cleaning duties, since earlier this year. Her attorneys are expected to call more than 30 witnesses during next week's hearing, and they have said England should not take the blame for the alleged abuses because she was following a senior officer's orders.
But the photographs appear to depict consensual sexual acts between England and at least one man. In some pictures, England gives the camera a thumbs-up sign, one of the trademark characteristics of widely published images of abuses at Abu Ghraib, where female soldiers were seen grinning, giving the same hand signal near naked, hooded detainees.
Many of the photographs appear to be taken in the soldiers' living quarters, where England is seen posing on an inflatable plastic chair wearing lingerie, on the bottom level of a bunk bed, and in what appears to be a bathroom.
In addition to the images appearing to depict personal sexual activity, there are scores of photographs that show military police soldiers throughout Iraq participating in a variety of acts, such as slaughtering a cow and setting up prankish scenes with the skull of a dead cat as the centerpiece.
"This shows some of the major problems that were going on with these soldiers outside of the cellblock," one defense official said. "There was a breadth of depravity."
Some officials point to the images as evidence that the MPs were rogue characters who, when placed in the Abu Ghraib prison, beat and forced detainees into sexually humiliating positions. The soldiers' lawyers say the abuses arose out of official military policies gone haywire -- that the MPs were carrying out orders to set the conditions for interrogation sessions.
So far, only the seven MPs have been charged in the prison abuses. But an Army investigation focusing on the role of military intelligence at the prison -- a report that is overdue and is anxiously sought by members of Congress -- is still underway.