JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guardsman charged with committing indecent acts with a child under the age of 16 and making a false official statement to federal law enforcement officers was convicted on those charges and sentenced by a military judge to seven years confinement, a dishonorable discharge, total forfeitures of all pay and allowances, and reduction to E-1 at general court-martial held in Juneau, Jan. 30.
In accordance with a pre-trial agreement, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Benjamin L. Sylvester, a 43-year-old native of Belfast, Maine, pled guilty to one specification of violating Article 107 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for the false official statement and two specifications of violating Article 134 of the UCMJ for the indecent acts with a child. Per the pre-trial agreement, Sylvester will be confined for 3 years with 4 years suspended.
Sylvester was previously stationed in Kodiak, Alaska and will serve the confinement at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in Miramar, Calif.
The indecent act with a child offenses occurred in 2004 when Sylvester was stationed with the Coast Guard in Maine. The allegations were brought forward to authorities by the victim in November of 2012. Coast Guard Investigative Service agents from Alaska, Virginia and Maine conducted the investigation.
"The Coast Guard remains resolute in our commitment to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of sexual assault crimes and to ensuring that military justice is conducted in a timely, objective, and fair manner," said Lt. Cmdr. John Cashman, a Coast Guard legal spokesperson. "This case was unique as the crime occurred nearly a decade ago; however, once notified, the criminal investigators, prosecutors, and victim support staff worked diligently to bring it to resolution."