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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Fleet Reserve sailor was sentenced to six years in a military prison and a dishonorable discharge Friday for the long-term sexual abuse of his daughter.

The sailor, a 41-year-old petty officer first class who retired from active duty in 2000, will be sent to a military prison in the United States to serve his sentence, assuming it’s affirmed after a Commander, Naval Forces Japan review.

Lt. Stella Lane, prosecutor in the case, had asked the judge, Capt. Carol Gaasch, to sentence the sailor to seven years and a dishonorable discharge — the maximum punishment the sailor and CNFJ, the convening authority, agreed to in plea negotiations, it was disclosed Friday.

The sailor’s defense counsel, Lt. Sylvaine Wong, had argued for a sentence of four years in prison and no dishonorable discharge in part because, she said, the resulting loss of pay would financially harm the sailor’s family, which already had been harmed by his actions. He’ll receive no retirement pay while in prison but will be eligible to receive it again when released, officials said.

In courts-martial with negotiated pleas, the judge in the case determines a sentence without knowing the convening authority’s decision. The two sentences are compared; the defendant receives the lesser one.

So although Wong didn’t succeed in having her client avoid the dishonorable discharge, he did get a prison term one year less than the negotiated maximum. The sailor, whose name is not being used in order to protect the privacy of the girl, now 17, had pleaded guilty to two counts of abuse — indecent acts and forcible sodomy — beginning when his daughter was 14, although prosecutors initially had contended the abuse began years earlier.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
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