DOD civilian pleads guilty to sexually abusing sleeping co-worker at Navy base in Japan


YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Defense Department civilian worker pleaded guilty to a federal charge of abusive sexual contact Thursday after investigators said he sexually assaulted a co-worker while on a temporary duty assignment at Yokosuka.

Michael Cerera, 36, admitted to crawling into a fellow employee’s hotel bed while she was asleep in the early morning hours of Jan. 23, 2016, according to federal court documents. The woman woke up to find Cerera kissing, licking and inappropriately touching her beneath her clothing.

Court documents did not list the name of the base hotel where the crime happened.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Oesterle said Cerera’s actions fit the abusive sexual contact charge because his co-worker was “physically incapable of declining participation in or communicating unwillingness to engage in” the sexual acts while she was asleep.

Cerera, who lives in Port Orchard, Wash., is out of jail on bond until his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 9. He will be required to register as a sex offender.

Cerera could face up to three years in prison and at least five years of probation upon release; however, prosecutors said in the plea agreement they would recommend a prison sentence “at the low end” of U.S. sentencing guidelines.

A judge could also make Cerera pay a fine of up to $250,000 and order him to pay restitution to his victim, according to court documents.

Twitter: @CaitlinDoornbos

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