2 Coast Guardsmen face court-martial
New London — Two members of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2016 are facing court-martial proceedings after being charged in separate sexual assault cases.
The cadets are suspended from the corps of cadets following a recommendation by academy Superintendent Rear Adm. James Rendon, while their cases go through the judicial process, according to academy spokesman David Santos.
Michael Shermot is charged with sexual assault by impairment, meaning the alleged victim was unable to consent. His court-martial trial is scheduled to begin on Monday and will be held in Norfolk, Va.
Shermot was suspended from the corps of cadets on Dec. 29, 2015. He was a member of the wrestling team and a native of Shillington, Pa., according to the academy's athletics website.
Shermot faces up to 30 years in prison, dismissal from the Coast Guard and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
The alleged assault occurred in Westchester, Pa., sometime between Sept. 4 and 5 of 2015, according to Santos.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service became involved in the case after a civil investigation was started by local police in Westchester.
After concerns were made about Shermot's military status and some of the witnesses involved in the case, the decision was made to have the Coast Guard take over jurisdiction of the case, said Lt. Cmdr. Rob Stiles, a legal instructor at the academy.
Stiles was previously the chief of military justice for the Coast Guard Legal Service Command.
Shermot has been reassigned to the Coast Guard's yard in Baltimore, Md., while he awaits court-martial. He's been assigned work that is comparable to what a lower-grade enlisted member does.
Because the military has much more control over the movements of its members, pretrial confinement is usually not used unless the person is a flight risk or poses an imminent threat, Stiles said.
Anthony Livingstone is charged with sexual assault by lack of consent, extortion and conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.
His court-martial trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 26, and also will be held in Norfolk.
Livingstone was suspended from the corps on Dec. 1, 2015. He was a member of the football team and a native of Plainfield, N.J., according to the academy's athletics website
Livingstone allegedly assaulted another cadet multiple times at the academy in September 2015, according to Stiles. He also allegedly threatened others in an attempt to prevent them from speaking about the alleged incidents and cooperating with law enforcement.
He faces up to 30 years of confinement, disenrollment and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the sexual assault charge; up to three years of confinement, disenrollment and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the extortion charge; and up to one year confinement and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the unbecoming conduct charge.
Santos said information about the cadets being suspended was not made public until now because "we typically release information on a court-martial prior to the convening date."
Court-martial cases used to occur in New London, but in the last year the Coast Guard has moved most of its prosecutions to Norfolk and Alameda, Calif., where its two largest legal commands are located, in an attempt to create two large concentrated centers of prosecution, Stiles said.
The goal is to develop expert justice practitioners who can more quickly and ably handle prosecutions and sexual assault cases, he said.
In the past prosecutions took place all over the country, which provided challenges from a resource perspective, he said.
Stories that may interest you
The statue recognizes women's involvement in the military, said state Sen. Cathy Osten, who served on active duty in the Army for four years.
Fordan Bonardi left his house just before 6:30 a.m. Monday, setting out to complete what has become a Veterans Day ritual.