A Marine colonel who is awaiting trial in the brig at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on charges of child sexual abuse and sexual assault, among other violations, will plead not guilty to all charges, Military.com has learned.
Col. Daniel H. Wilson, 55, was removed from his post as operations officer for II Marine Expeditionary Force and charged in November with three counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse of a child; four counts of assault and battery on a child under age 16; one count of failure to obey an order or regulation; and nine counts of conduct unbecoming an officer as a result of a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation.
In January, II MEF officials announced that Wilson had been ordered to pretrial confinement and served with additional charges due to new evidence turned up by NCIS. The additional charges include four counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault consummated by battery, and one count of absent without leave. The allegations of sexual misconduct remain under investigation, II MEF spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Armistead said.
Wilson was to face an Article 32 investigative hearing Jan. 31, but opted to waive the hearing.
In a statement obtained by Military.com Friday, his civilian lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, said Wilson planned to plead not guilty to all charges at an upcoming arraignment. Stackhouse said his client had been denied a continuance to allow adequate time to review discovery materials. He also complained that he had been informed by the prosecutors ahead of the scheduled hearing that not one witness would be called.
“Under the Rules for Court-martial, Colonel Wilson has the right to present evidence in his own
defense and evidence in mitigation and extenuation at his Preliminary Hearing. Without the
continuance, Colonel Wilson was not able to exercise that right,” Stackhouse said in the statement.
Stackhouse further claimed that the officer who reviewed the decision of II MEF Commander Maj. Gen. Walter Lee Miller to confine Wilson in the brig had deliberated “less than 2 seconds” before remanding Wilson to the brig.
“That abuse of discretion and decision will be appealed,” Stackhouse said.
“Colonel Wilson waived his Article 32 [Uniform Code of Military Justice] preliminary hearing in order to get before a military judge as soon as possible in order to receive the rights afforded him under the code and rules so that he can defend himself against these allegations,” Stackhouse said. “At arraignment, Colonel Wilson will assert his innocence by pleading Not Guilty to all charges.”
Marine officials have not released details about the alleged crimes of which Wilson is accused. Armistead Wilson “is presumed innocent and will be afforded the opportunity to defend himself against all charges.”