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February 2019
Tim Bilecki

Bilecki Saves 6 Months of Prison Time for Navy NCO Targeted in Child Sex Sting

Attempted Sexual Assault of a Minor "Sting Operation"
Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam, Hawaii
Navy Petty Officer First Class - E-6
14 months of confinement, bad conduct discharge.

A Navy Petty Officer First Class was ensnared in an NCIS “To Catch a Predator” sting operation, where an NCIS agent impersonated a minor online seeking sexual conversations with adults. After interacting with the undercover agent, the Sailor went to the bait house equipped with condoms and was subsequently arrested and confessed to law enforcement.

He faced charges of attempted sexual assault, and the government swiftly proposed a plea agreement that included 24 months of confinement and a punitive discharge. Opting to fight the charges, the Sailor enlisted Tim Bilecki, a recognized court martial lawyer in Hawaii, to defend him before a jury. Bilecki employed an entrapment defense.

Although the jury convicted the Sailor, the sentence imposed was six months less than what he would have faced had he accepted the plea deal. This outcome underscores the potential benefits of contesting charges before a jury, even in the face of strong evidence. Moreover, by going to trial, significant appellate issues were preserved, which would have been forfeited under a plea agreement.

Initially charged with attempted sexual assault, the trial concluded with the Sailor being acquitted of those charges but found guilty of attempting a lewd act. This case exemplifies the complexity of legal defense strategies and the importance of a vigorous defense, especially when faced with serious allegations.

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