Coast Guard holds trial for boat crewmember

SAN DIEGO – A summary court-martial was held Wednesday for U. S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Brittany N. Rasmussen at the 32nd Street Naval Base in San Diego.

Rasmussen appeared before the court and pleaded guilty to a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, dereliction of duty while serving as a crewmember aboard a Coast Guard patrol boat in San Diego Bay the evening of Dec. 20, 2009. The sentence issued by the summary court was a letter of reprimand.

Besides Rasmussen, three other patrol boat crewmembers were charged with violations of the UCMJ following the collision between the patrol boat and a civilian vessel. Courts-martial for two of the members, Petty Officer Ian M. Howell and Petty Officer Paul A. Ramos, are currently scheduled to be held in the coming months. The case of the other crewman charged with dereliction of duty was dismissed because of insufficient evidence late last year at a non-judicial hearing held at the 11th Coast Guard District headquarters in Alameda.

The UCMJ is a complete set of criminal laws that covers most crimes contained in civilian law in addition to other military-specific offenses. UCMJ charges are accusations. The accused are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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