Camp Lester sailor gets 5 years in molestation case

By CINDY FISHER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 22, 2008

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Camp Lester sailor was sentenced to five years’ confinement after pleading guilty on Wednesday to indecent acts with a child, service-discrediting harassment and owning child pornography.

The chief petty officer, who also was reduced to E-1 and given a dishonorable discharge during his one-day general court-martial, admitted he touched his adopted daughter inappropriately three times during the summer of 2004 at a stateside duty station. The girl was 13 at the time.

The sailor’s wife, the child’s biological mother, is also a chief petty officer in the Navy and was attending a career school at the time.

The daughter, now 16, testified by phone Wednesday that when he touched her, “I was scared. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on and what he was doing,” so she pretended to be asleep.

During the summer of 2004, the chief petty officer said he also put a video camera in the daughter’s closet to try to record her when she changed clothes after taking a shower.

The sailor, who has 24 years of Navy service, said that from 2004 to 2007, he also looked down his daughter’s shirt at “opportunistic moments.”

The sailor, who worked at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, also admitted to owning 30 to 40 images of child pornography that he had collected on the Internet over a period of four years.

Stars and Stripes is withholding the sailor’s name to protect the identity of the victim.

The wife transferred to a stateside duty station in July 2007, a few months after the incidents were brought to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s attention. She took the victim and the couple’s two other children with her.

The daughter testified that her father adopted her when she was 5 and she had a father-daughter relationship with him until these “incidents made the relationship strange and uncomfortable.”

Asked why she didn’t report any of the incidents until April 2007, she said, “I didn’t think anyone could do anything” and she was afraid of her father because “he gets very angry … aggressive.”

In an unsworn statement, the chief petty officer said he was sexually abused as a child but never sought counseling because “I didn’t think it was an issue until I started using child pornography and molesting my daughter.”

Prosecutor Capt. Timothy Aoyagi asked for 10 years of confinement.

“There is something profoundly wrong with” the accused and he only “stopped because he was scared of getting caught,” he said.

Defense counsel Capt. Clinton Crosser sought a two-year sentence, saying the sailor is remorseful and is seeking counseling for his problem.

Crosser said the case was not about justice, but was “more of a case about a sick person who needs some help,” Crosser said.

Judge Lt. Col. David Oliver’s sentence included an eight-year prison term, but a pretrial agreement suspended any confinement beyond five years. The chief petty officer was not in pretrial confinement.

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