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November 2021
Tim Bilecki

Marine Avoids Sex Offender Label in Romance Gone Wrong, Serves 30 Days

Sexual Assault
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
Marine Corporal – E-4
Negotiated pre-trial agreement; client pleaded guilty to fraternization and simple assault; sexual assault charges dismissed. 30 days confinement.

A lifetime sentence of registering as a sex offender is what one Marine Corporal out of Camp Lejeune was facing. It’s a hell of a price to pay for a consensual romantic relationship, and yet, that’s exactly what the military justice system was about to throw down on this Marine. That was until Bilecki stepped into the ring to fight for this Marine.

This Corporal became romantically involved with a Lance Corporal who would later go on to accuse him of sexual assault. The two could often be seen together, and the mutual romantic interest seemed obvious to outside observers. The night of the alleged assault, the couple engaged in intimate behavior that included cuddling and kissing. Sensing mutual interest, the Corporal proceeded to and eventually digitally penetrate her. However, when he sensed that she wanted to proceed no further, he stopped all advances.

The victim left on her own accord that night and the Corporal could have never imagined what was about to come next. She accused him of sexual assault, and he was now staring down the barrel of the life sentence as a sex offender. That’s when Bilecki got involved, and we immediately began conducting our own investigation.

The prosecution wanted to overlook the mutual romantic interest and act as if the Corporal grabbed a stranger off the street. We didn’t let them do that. We showed that the Corporal’s subsequent texts to the Lance Corporal didn’t show an ounce of guilt but rather heartbreak over losing the romance and that he was afraid to lose her. Perhaps a Corporal shouldn’t be romantically interested in an E-3, but the man was smitten with her.

The prosecution simply failed to consider the complexities of romantic encounters. Does she want you to kiss her, or does she not? If she kisses you, does that mean she really does like you? The prosecution also wanted to ignore the fact that the Corporal pulled back at the first sign of uncomfortableness by the alleged victim. With body language, she communicated stop, and the Corporal stopped.  Now, we were ready to take this all the way to trial, but we serve our clients and respect their intent. The Corporal was extremely risk-averse and simply wanted to ensure he never had to spend the rest of his life as a sex offender. We were asked to negotiate a pre-trial agreement that would prevent just that.

We then engaged in the complex process of negotiations, and we were able to secure a pre-trial agreement where he would plead guilty to simple assault and order violation. All sexual assault charges were dismissed, and our client would not have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He only had to serve 25 days of confinement, and the charges he pled guilty to were no more serious than a drunk Marine getting into a fight and violating some order along the way. Namely, what pretty much every Marine has done since the first pint of ale was drunk at Tun Tavern on November 10, 1775.

We honored our client’s wishes, protected his reputation and secured him the best possible outcome. He gets the rest of his life back and we have the honor to have served this Marine well.  

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