JUNEAU, Alaska â€” A Coast Guard petty officer accused of rape and sexual contact will face a court-martial Monday, March 24, 2014, in room 285 of the Hurff A. Saunders Federal Building in Juneau. Preliminary matters for the trial will begin at 8 a.m.
The accused Coast Guard member facing the court-martial is Petty Officer 3rd Class William Bisel, 26, an aviation maintenance technician assigned to the public works department at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka. The court-martial was originally scheduled to begin on July 30th, 2013 but was postponed due to procedural issues. Petty Officer Bisel is charged with two violations of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which involve sexual assault.
The case was referred for trial by General Court-Martial by Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, Commander, Coast Guard 17th District. Ostebo’s decision to refer the case to trial is based on the finding at an Article 32 hearing completed Feb. 4, 2013, that reasonable grounds exist to try Bisel for two counts of violating Article 120 of the UCMJ. The Article 32 hearing is similar to a grand jury hearing in the civilian court system.
Charges are accusations against the individual and the accused is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. The Coast Guard is committed to a fair proceeding in compliance with the UCMJ.
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: //www.uscg.mil/legal/mj/MJ_Doc/UCMJ12.pdf.