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Marine colonel released from brig three months after child sexual abuse conviction dismissed

Marine Col. Daniel Wilson was convicted of the sexual abuse of a child, six counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman and absence without leave last year. He was sentenced to 5 and a half years in prison and dismissed from service.

MATT MYERS/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 25, 2019

WASHINGTON — A Marine colonel who had his conviction for sexually abusing a child dismissed in July has been released from confinement and awaiting approval for retirement, according to the Marine Corps.

Col. Daniel Wilson was released from pretrial confinement Oct. 18 after a presentencing agreement was signed and he immediately went on leave while awaiting administrative separation, the Marine Corps said Friday in a statement.

In 2017, Wilson was sentenced to 66 months, or more than five years, behind bars and a dismissal — the officer equivalent of a dishonorable discharge — after he was convicted of sexual abuse of a child, six counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman, and one count of unauthorized absence, according to the decision of the judges from the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.

Wilson’s court-martial took place at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he was with the II Marine Expeditionary Force. He was accused of sexually abusing the six-year-old daughter of a fellow Marine in 2016. Wilson had previously worked with the girl’s father at another base, and when the girl’s family moved to Camp Lejeune, they developed a close friendship with Wilson and his wife, according to court documents.

Before the appeals court, Wilson’s lawyers asserted the conviction of sexual abuse of the child is “legally and factually insufficient,” which the judges found to have merit, according to their decision.

The judges dismissed the sexual abuse charge “with prejudice,” meaning the decision is final and the charge cannot be retried.

Since July, Wilson had been confined to the Camp Pendleton Brig in California, awaiting a sentencing rehearing for his remaining felony-level convictions for conduct unbecoming and unauthorized absence.

Wilson has submitted a retirement request to be decided by Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. If the request is approved, Spencer will determine at what rank Wilson will be authorized to retire based on his service, according to the Marine Corps.

When the Navy secretary makes his decision on Wilson’s retirement request, the convening authority or the top official overseeing court-martial proceedings has agreed to approve “no punishment” on Wilson’s court-martial in lieu of a sentence rehearing, according to the Marine Corps. The name of the convening authority was not given in the statement.

kenney.caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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