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July 2020
Tim Bilecki

Navy NCO Faces Sex Assault, Talks Himself Out to NCIS, Learns Mistake Hard Way

Sexual Assault
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
Navy Chief Petty Officer – E-7
No court martial charges preferred.

A Navy Chief who was stationed at Pearl Harbor was called into NCIS and advised that he was under investigation for abusive sexual contact from his prior duty station in Yokosuka, Japan. Apparently, the Chief went out with another Sailor in the Honch bar area outside the main gate and got a little handsy with his female shipmate. It was completely unclear why the allegation was not made until nearly a year after the alleged incident and after the Chief PCS’d. When he was brought into NCIS, he waived his rights and began talking to them. NCIS immediately treated the good Chief as if he was a pariah and some sexual deviant. The Chief earned his anchors the hard way and now knew the NCIS agents didn’t have his back.

After requesting an attorney and ending the interview, he retained sex assault defense lawyer Tim Bilecki to guide him through the investigation. We filed our notice of representation with NCIS and discussed the case with the JAG. We quickly learned that this was an allegation made a year after the fact without any corroborating evidence. Later in the investigation, the alleged victim refused to cooperate any further in the investigation and signed a declination statement saying she no longer wanted to participate in the case. A few weeks later, apparently, she changed her mind and wanted to cooperate, only to decline again later. We never knew what her motivation was, but the case was eventually closed out without probable cause. and the Chief was able to continue doing great work for the Navy.

It goes without saying that had he continued to discuss the case with NCIS, they may have twisted his words. Even if the case didn’t go to a court martial, it might have been used against him at mast. Fortunately, he knew better, retained civilian defense counsel, and weathered the storm without any damage to his career.

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