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Marine colonel braces for court-martial

A disgraced Marine colonel in the brig at Camp Lejeune wants his day in court.

Col. Daniel H. Wilson, the former operations officer for II Marine Expeditionary Force, will plead not guilty to sexual assault and other charges stemming from separate alleged incidents, his civilian attorney told Marine Corps Times.

Wilson, 55, is accused of inappropriately touching a young girl under the age of 10, inappropriately touching a woman and fraternizing with a female officer while overseas, said Phillip Stackhouse, the San Diego attorney.

Wilson "categorically denies" the charges that he sexually assaulted a child, Stackhouse said.

The daughter of a family friend told her mother that Wilson inappropriately touched her, and the girl subsequently told civilian authorities from Onslow County in North Carolina, Stackhouse said. 

"There's no objective, physical evidence at all," Stackhouse said. 

Separately, Wilson is accused of trying to give alcohol to the girl and her sister, said Stackhouse, who called the charge "silly."

"The allegation is: The families were all together and one of the girls comes up to him and says, 'Hey, what are you drinking?' – and he's drinking Scotch," Stackhouse said. 'He says: "Apple juice. Do you want some?' – and everybody laughs."

Stackhouse said the flaws in the government's case against Wilson go beyond the lack of physical evidence. "There's inconsistent statements in the allegations. There's also suggestibility in the interview of the children," he said.

Marine Corps officials at Camp Lejeune have declined to discuss the details of the allegations against Wilson and they have also declined to release the charge sheet outlining the specific charges.

Wilson was initially charged in November. In January, after additional allegations of misconduct came to light, commanders at Camp Lejeune ordered him into pre-trial confinement.

Wilson also denies that he sexually assaulted a former friend of his wife while the three of them were on a trip to South Carolina, Stackhouse said.

"They were down there for three or four nights total," he said. "The allegation is on that first night that he inappropriately touched her on more than one occasion. Now, she stayed with them a second night, a third night, a fourth night, came back to North Carolina from South Carolina with them."

Stackhouse claims the woman did not mention the alleged assaults during the rest of their trip and only made the allegation against Wilson after getting into a "personal disagreement" with Wilson's wife two weeks after they returned.

"Again, no physical evidence whatsoever to support her claim," Stackhouse said.

On the fraternization charges, Wilson has been accused of having "overly familiar" relationship with a female Australian military officer, Stackhouse said.

Wilson's attorney plans to ask a military judge to release the colonel from pre-trial confinement, Stackhouse said. Wilson will also request a jury trial.

Wilson was initially charged in November with sexual abuse of a child; assault consummated by battery on a child under the age of 16; failure to obey a general order or regulation and conduct unbecoming of an officer.  

Col. Daniel Wilson, then serving as chief of staff for the 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, at the opening ceremony for Exercise Cobra Gold on March 24, 2014.

Photo Credit: Cpl. James R. Smith/Marine Corps


When an investigation uncovered new allegations of misconduct, Wilson was sent to the brig on Jan. 13 and later charged with sexual assault, assault consummated by battery and absence without leave.

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