Coast Guardsman charged with sexually related misconduct faces court-martial

5th Coast Guard District News
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Coast Guardsman charged with sexually related misconduct will face a special court-martial scheduled to begin Tuesday in Norfolk, Va.

Chief Petty Officer Joe H. Carter, 39, is charged with Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for the wrongful sexual contact with one enlisted female Coast Guard member.

In addition, Carter is charged with:

Article 92 –  Failure to obey order or regulation
Article 134 –  General Articles (covers offenses not specifically covered in any other article of the UCMJ)

Vice Adm. Robert Parker, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, decided to convene a special court-martial based on the recommendation of an Article 32 Investigation. An Article 32 Investigation is similar to a grand jury hearing in the civilian court system.  The investigation concluded that reasonable grounds exist to try Carter for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The charges follow an investigation, which revealed that Carter, a married man, touched the buttocks of one female Coast Guard member without her consent, and engaged in adultery with two other consenting female Coast Guard members. His relationship with these two female Coast Guard members violated Coast Guard regulations governing relationships between officers and enlisted members.

The Coast Guard initiated an investigation in December 2011, after a crewmember on Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, homeported in Seattle, informed the command that Carter was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a female junior officer.  The Coast Guard completed the investigation in June 2013 and charges were  preferred in August 2013.

Carter was assigned to the Mellon when the alleged misconduct occurred.  Prior to the commencement of the investigation, Carter completed his tour of duty aboard Mellon and transferred to Coast Guard Navigation Center Detachment, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Carter remained at Peterson Air Force Base while awaiting trial.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice 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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