Great Lakes-based Coast Guardsman to face court-martial for alleged sexual assault

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CLEVELAND — A Coast Guardsman accused of sexual assault and other criminal acts will face a court-martial, scheduled to begin Monday in Norfolk, Va.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Rogers was charged with Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for allegedly committing a sexual assault against a civilian woman at a hotel in Portsmouth, Va., on Aug. 15, 2012.

In addition to the sexual assault charge, Rogers is charged with making a false official statement, obstructing justice, and misuse of a military ID card. Rogers is also charged with Articles 81 and 134 of the UCMJ for allegedly conspiring to tamper with a command-directed urinalysis on March 15, 2013.

Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, formerly the commander of the Coast Guard 9th District, decided to refer Rogers’ case to a general court-martial. The decision was made after investigations by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, pretrial investigations under Article 32, UCMJ, and Article 34 pretrial legal advice from the 9th District staff judge advocate.

If Rogers is found guilty of all charges, he could face up to 120 years in prison.

Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, the current commander of the 9th District, is the court-martial convening authority.

Rogers is currently serving at Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, but he is assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Alder, a 225-foot sea-going buoy tender homeported in Duluth, Minn. He was assigned to cutter Alder and was attending training in Portsmouth at the time of the alleged sexual assault.

Charges are accusations against the individual, and the accused is presumed innocent. The Coast Guard is committed to a fair proceeding in compliance with the UCMJ. It is Coast Guard policy to withhold the identity of alleged sexual assault survivors.

The Coast Guard will share the results of the court-martial following these proceedings, which are open to the public. The court-martial will take place at the Coast Guard Legal Service Command Norfolk at 300 E. Main Street.

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