Former Coast Guard official in Cape May guilty of sexually harassing women recruits
By Hoa Nguyen and Richard Degener | The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J. | Published: September 27, 2012
CAPE MAY, N.J. — A former Coast Guard company commander was sentenced to a year's confinement Wednesday after being found guilty of sexually harassing women recruits at Training Center Cape May, officials said.
Chief Petty Officer Carlos Resendez was found guilty of maltreatment of subordinates, failure to obey a lawful order and adultery following a trial in Norfolk, Va. In addition to the confinement, he was demoted to the lowest enlisted grade and will eventually face a bad-conduct discharge, Coast Guard officials said.
The incidents, which occurred between spring 2009 and summer 2010 at Training Center Cape May, included harassment of three women recruits and having sex with one, officials said, adding that Resendez abused his military authority.
He was later sent to work as an indoctrination instructor at a Coast Guard training center in Petaluma, Calif., until the allegations surfaced in April 2011, officials said. Resendez was then reassigned to administrative duties.
Capt. Bill Kelly, commanding officer of Training Center Cape May, said officials take reports of sexual misconduct seriously.
"Training Center Cape May has gone to great lengths to prevent this from happening in the future by improving our recruit standard operating procedures, ensuring the highest level of training and oversight for our company commanders, and educating our recruits early and often about Coast Guard civil rights, sexual harassment and sexual assault policies," he said.
Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska, a spokesman for the Cape May facility — the Coast Guard's only recruit training center — said Resendez was stationed there from 2007-10.
Sexual relations, even consensual, between members of the training staff and recruits are strictly prohibited by the training center and the Coast Guard, Brzuska said.
An investigation of the allegations included contacting more than two dozen women, now stationed at different Coast Guard bases across the nation, who trained under Resendez.
"We take any allegations of sexual harassment seriously," Brzuska said.
Resendez is confined at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake, Va.
His guilty plea comes as another branch of the military is still reeling from its own sex scandal involving recruits. The military ousted the top commander of the basic training unit at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas after investigators found dozens of female recruits were sexually assaulted or harassed by their male instructors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.