Ex-Capodichino police chief guilty of sex charges
August 7, 2003
NAPLES, Italy — A former chief of police at Capodichino received a bad-conduct discharge after pleading guilty to indecent liberties and acts with a child and possession of child pornography.
In a court-martial Tuesday at Capodichino, a military judge also sentenced Chief Petty Officer Michael C. Walsh to 40 months’ confinement — 34 of which are suspended for a year — and reduction to E-1.
Under questioning by Judge (Capt.) David White, Walsh, 32, repeatedly wiped away tears.
When asked whether he realized his actions toward a 15-year-old girl one night in February were wrong, Walsh responded, “… at the end I realized it was wrong and how absolutely horrible it was.”
Two of Walsh’s co-workers took the stand, testifying that the master-at-arms was a top-notch sailor. One sailor said he would still let his children be alone in Walsh’s presence, and believed the chief had 100 percent rehabilitative potential.
Walsh’s most recent position was the Security Department’s training division chief petty officer.
“The crimes that brought him here today, as tragic as they are, do not define him as a person,” said defense counsel Lt. Josh Lamancusa, citing various awards Walsh received, including four Navy Marine Corps medals and five letters of commendation. “… [T]his is a lapse in judgment, not a flaw in character.”
Lt. Melissa Harvison, trial counsel, said that while Walsh performed well at work, it didn’t change the fact that he molested the girl.
“These actions are extremely disturbing and require punishment,” Harvison said, going into detail about the incident involving the girl. “… she’ll never be able to forget.”
Walsh, in the Navy for nearly 14 years, told White he planned to continue seeing a counselor.
In an unsworn statement, Walsh apologized to the girl and his wife. His wife sat behind him in the courtroom, crying.
“There’s no excuse for what I did,” Walsh said, choking up when he said he would forever be labeled a child molester.
As part of a pretrial agreement, Walsh pleaded guilty to two charges and the convening authority agreed to approve no more than six months’ confinement.
Other charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and the receipt of child pornography, were withdrawn after the court accepted Walsh’s guilty pleas.