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June 2020
Tim Bilecki

Port Call Party Ends in Sex Charges, Bilecki Clears Sailor on All Counts

Two Violations of Article 120 (Sexual Assault)
Joint Base Pearl Harbor - Hickam, Hawaii
Navy Petty Officer Third Class – E-4
Full Acquittal. Not guilty of all charges and specifications.

A Petty Officer was accused of sexual assault following a port call in Central America. During the port call, the Sailor and a group of shipmates rented an Airbnb for the night, intending to return to the ship the next day. After checking into the Airbnb, they went out for dinner and subsequently to local bars, where, as expected, most of them became quite intoxicated. The Petty Officer and a female Sailor ended up sharing one of the rooms at the Airbnb, and they had sexual intercourse.

The next day, their shipmates teased them about hooking up the night before. Despite the jokes, the two spent the rest of the day together and returned to the ship just in time, nearly missing the ship’s departure. It was only after the ship had left port that the female Sailor alleged that she was sexually assaulted, claiming she was too intoxicated to consent.

The Petty Officer was removed from the ship, investigated by NCIS, and later charged at a general court martial with sexual assault. After being criminally charged, the Petty Officer retained Hawaii sex assault defense lawyer Tim Bilecki for his defense at trial. The defense team began preparations by interviewing all the Sailors who had been out with their client during the port call, establishing a defense based on consent and mistake of fact as to consent. They also established that the alleged victim was capable of consenting, despite having consumed alcohol that night. The case advanced beyond the Article 32 hearing to a fully contested panel trial.

At trial, the defense cross-examined the alleged victim about a possible motive to fabricate, as well as her consumption of alcohol and her actions that night. Witnesses testified about their observations of the interactions between the two, which seemed entirely consensual, noting the complainant flirting with the client. At the end of a week-long trial, the panel acquitted the Petty Officer of all charges and specifications, recognizing the allegations as unfounded. Not Guilty on all counts.

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