Coast Guard courts-martials Cutter Venturous crew members for hazing

5th Coast Guard District News

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard, following completion of its investigation into allegations of hazing aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous, recently completed a series of courts-martial and disciplinary measures based upon evidence uncovered during the investigation.

The two-year Coast Guard investigation revealed that some former and current Coast Guard Cutter Venturous crew members engaged in clandestine hazing in the berthing areas of the ship between summer 2007 and winter 2009.  The investigation began after two former crewmembers came forward with the allegations.  The Venturous is home ported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“The Coast Guard does not tolerate hazing of any kind,” said Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area and the final action authority for the court-martial cases. “Even the most junior Coast Guard member has the power, right, and obligation to say ‘no’ to hazing. One of the core values that defines us as public servants is respect — respect for our fellow citizens and respect for each other. Hazing is the antithesis of respect and will not be tolerated.”

The seven most culpable members were held accountable at courts-martial held under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which provides criminal jurisdiction over members of the military, and a number of other current and former crew members also received administrative action for their roles in the hazing. Additionally, Parker released a message to all Atlantic Area units that was disseminated throughout the Coast Guard clearly reiterating the Coast Guard’s strong policies against hazing.

The following trials were conducted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which provides criminal jurisdiction over members of the military:

  • Chief Kiel M. Johanson was found guilty at a contested general court-martial of maltreatment, abusive sexual contact, indecent exposure and assault consummated by a battery on Jan. 28, 2011.  As a result of the abusive sexual contact charge, Johanson is required to register as a sex offender in any U.S. jurisdiction in which he resides, works, or attends school.  Johanson is being processed for separation from the Coast Guard.
  • Seaman Apprentice Eric A. Michaels, currently assigned to Cutter Morgenthau in Alameda, Calif., was tried at a special court-martial by a military judge on Nov. 9, 2010, where he was found guilty of dereliction of duty, false official statements, assault, and disorderly conduct.  Michaels was sentenced to five months confinement and a bad conduct discharge.
  • Petty Officer Second Class Kristopher A. Colvin, now assigned to Marine Safety & Security Team Honolulu, was tried at a special court-martial by a military judge Dec. 20, 2010, where he was found guilty of dereliction of duty, maltreatment, false official statements, assault, and disorderly conduct.  Colvin was sentenced to reduction to pay-grade E-2 and confinement for 75 days.
  • Petty Officer Second Class John M. Redwine, now assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., was tried by special court-martial May 9, 2011, where he pled guilty to two counts of assault, and disorderly conduct.  Redwine was sentenced to reduction to pay-grade E-3.
  • Petty Officer Third Class Jovany Delanuez, Personnel Services and Support Unit Miami, pled guilty at a summary court-martial and was sentenced to 30 days confinement, forfeiture of $1,300, and reduction to pay-grade E-3.
  • Petty Officer Second Class Nicholas Mackey, assigned to the Cutter Venturous, pled guilty at a summary court-martial March 31, 2011, and was sentenced to 60 days restriction reduction to pay-grade E-4 and forfeiture of 2/3 pay for one month.
  • Petty Officer Second Class John R. Dippery, currently assigned to Air Station Clearwater, Fla., pled guilty at a summary court-martial May 24, 2011, and was sentenced to reduction to E-4, restriction to Cutter Venturous for two months, and forfeiture of $1,486 for one month.  Dippery was on legal hold pending the court-martial and will be processed for separation.

The UCMJ is a complete set of criminal laws that covers most crimes contained in civilian law in addition to other military-specific offenses such as failure to obey an order, desertion, etc.  Additional information about the UCMJ and the military justice system can be found at:  http://www.uscg.mil/legal/mj/MJ_Doc/UCMJ12.pdf.

 

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