A Marine colonel convicted of sexually abusing a child will be stripped of his retirement benefits and have to register as a sex offender when he gets out of prison, a Corps official said.
Col. Daniel H. Wilson was sentenced on Sunday to spend nearly five years in prison and to be dismissed from the Marine Corps. Wilson, 56, had been the operations officer for II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Being dismissed from the service is the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge, which means Wilson will automatically forfeit his pay, allowances and other entitlements, said II MEF spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Armistead.
After Wilson is released from prison, the Marine Corps is required to let the state where he resides know he was convicted of a sex offense, Armistead told Marine Corps Times.
“All 50 states have sex offender registries and all are different,” Armistead said. “But generally, all would require him to at least be in a database for this type of offense. Other issues like housing restrictions, his photo on a website, how long he would be required to register, etc., all depend on the state.”
Wilson had been accused of abusing three children and sexually assaulting a woman. He was found guilty on Saturday of sexually abusing a child under 12 years old between June and July at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, conduct unbecoming of an officer and being absent without leave.
He was found not guilty of rape of a child, assault consummated by battery upon a child under 16 years old as well as charges of sexual assault and assault consummated by battery stemming from allegations brought by the woman.
Ryan Guilds is an attorney who has provided pro bono legal services to the family of the three children and the woman who were Wilson’s alleged victims.
“The family believes that all of the charges that went to the jury were proven beyond a reasonable doubt ― including all of the charges related to their children ― but they also appreciate and understand that Mr. Wilson has now been convicted of a very serious offense involving sexual assault of a minor; that he’ll have to register [as a sex offender] and spend several years in jail as a result of his behavior; and they feel very, very proud of their daughter for coming forward and saying what happened,” Guilds told Marine Corps Times.
Wilson’s civilian attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, has said that Wilson’s legal team will appeal the verdict. “The fight for justice continues,” Stackhouse said on Sunday.
Before being sentenced, Wilson read a statement in court telling jurors that his drinking problem had turned him into a “barely functional alcoholic,” but he had been sober since being sent to the brig in January.
“First and foremost, I want you to know that I am profoundly sorry to those I have hurt,” Wilson told jurors. “I hope you do believe that I never intentionally set out to hurt anyone, to cause anyone pain, or to cause anyone to think poorly of me or the Marine Corps to which I have dedicated my entire adult life. In many ways, I feel disgraced and in those ways ― I deserve it and earned it.”
But the family of the three children whom Wilson was accused of abusing was not impressed by Wilson’s attempt at contrition, Guilds said in a statement from the family.
“The family never once heard a direct apology to their child or to the rest of the family,” Guilds said. “The only thing he’s sorry about is that he was caught.”