What are the consequences of being accused of military sexual assault?
Are there courts martial for Coast Guard personnel? Yes. Though officially part of the Department of Transportation, personnel are subject to courts martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). A recent case shows that these cases can have devastating consequences to those being charged and that experienced defense counsel is often needed.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Alyssa Schiele, 26, is facing a court martial and possibly a lifetime of confinement. She is charged with multiple violations of the UCMJ including sexual assault, providing false official statements and obstruction of justice. Schiele is charged with sexually assaulting two Coast Guard coworkers. She may be dishonorably discharged, be subject to forfeiture of all military pay and allowances and could face 70 years of confinement if found guilty of all charges.
Schiele was a food service specialist assigned to Coast Guard Station Michigan City in Indiana during the alleged assaults. She has since been reassigned. The assaults allegedly occurred at Michigan City’s Blue Chip Casino December 2012 and at another Coast Guard member’s Michigan City home August 2013.
The Coast Guard investigation started in March when one of the alleged victims filed an unrestricted report that Schiele had sexually assaulted her. That triggered a formal investigation and notification to the commands of the reporting victims and offender. The Coast Guard 9th District’s commander Rear Adm. Fred Midgette referred the case to general court-martial in early December. The court martial will be held in Cleveland on a date that has yet to be announced.
Sexual assaults in the armed forces have become a focus of media and political attention, and the Coast Guard has not been immune. The Office of Military Justice for the Coast Guard reported last November that there were 141 “unrestricted” sexual assault reports in fiscal year 2012, up from 83 in 2011 and 60 in 2010, in a force of about 43,000 active duty members. These types of reports are not confidential and are investigated.
Service members who claim they have been sexually assaulted can file a “restricted” report, in which the assault is disclosed on a confidential basis. The number of these reports was not released.
If you or a loved one in the Denver and Colorado Springs area face a court martial, or are being investigated for alleged violations of the UCMJ, the court martial defense attorneys of Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein can help. For a free consultation, call us today at (303)567-7981.