Court martial begins for colonel charged with sex abuse

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) —  Court martial proceedings began Wednesday for a Camp Lejeune colonel accused of child sex abuse.

Col. Daniel H. Wilson is facing numerous charges of assault and conduct unbecoming an officer.

He is charged with sexual assault, assault consummated by battery and absence without leave, stemming from incidents that occurred throughout 2016.

The government and Col. Wilson’s defense began with opening arguments during Wednesday’s court proceedings.

The government began by detailing each of the incidents. The first, it says, occurred in February and March of 2016 while Col. Wilson was stationed in Darwin, Australia as a liaison officer, and in Okinawa, Japan. He’s charged with multiple Article 133 counts including sharing a revealing photo of another man’s wife and requesting a pair of her underwear, sending threatening messages to a colleague, sending an inappropriate email from a colleague’s work computer, and making lewd comments about another man’s wife.

The second set of incidents occurred during the summer of 2016. The government says Col. Wilson sexually assaulted a girl under the age of 12. He is charged with inappropriately touching her. The government says the girl, her parents and sisters were friends of the Wilsons. Col. Wilson is also charged with inappropriately striking and licking the girl’s sisters.

The third incident occurred during December of 2016. The government says Col. Wilson inappropriately touched and held down a female victim several times during a trip to Beaufort, S.C. He is also accused of putting his fingers in her mouth without consent.

Col. Wilson’s defense offered opening arguments to the members next. His lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, asked the members to consider the allegations in context. He said Wilson’s actions in Darwin and Okinawa were banter and made in jest. Stackhouse also said Col. Wilson and his wife were grandparent figures to the girls and would never harm them. Stackhouse said he was doubtful the government can prove its charges without reasonable doubt.

Col. Wilson is pleading not guilty to all charges.

The trial is scheduled to last until Sep 9. Col. Wilson has been in pre-trial confinement at the Marine Corps Installations East Regional Brig facility at Camp Lejeune since Jan 13.

 

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