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March 2016
Tim Bilecki

E-6 Caught in Teen Sex Sting, Involved with Schoolgirl, Serves Less Than Year

Sexual Assault of a Child, Sexual Abuse of a Child, Lewd Act on a Child, Indecent Exposure, and Adultery
Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan
Marine Corps Staff Sergeant – E-6
Sentenced to 15 years and 6 months. Served less than one year in confinement due to Plea Agreement.

NCIS in Okinawa set up a large-scale “To Catch a Predator” sting operation in which law enforcement placed an “F4M” ad on Craigslist. Once a military service member responded to the ad and started chatting with the female (who was actually an undercover NCIS agent), the agent would tell the service member that she was only 14 years old and then have sexual text conversations with the service member – who did not know it was an undercover agent.

After these text conversations, some of which went on for months, the agent would invite the unsuspecting service member to come over to “her house” for sex. When the service member arrived at the house and went inside, the NCIS agents would arrest the service member. This sting operation netted over two dozen service members across all branches of service in Okinawa, Japan, all of whom were criminally charged. The ranks ranged from E-2 through O-5.

One of those caught in this sting operation was a Marine Staff Sergeant.

After being caught and arrested, the Marine provided a full confession to the alleged crime and gave the NCIS an authorization to search his cellular phone in order to obtain the text message conversations between him and the undercover. NCIS already had the text messages that were saved from their end of the conversation but essentially informed the Marine that they needed to search his phone to corroborate them. The Staff Sergeant provided the consent to search his phone for those messages.

Attempted Child Pornography

NCIS then took the Marine’s phone and searched the entire phone, not just the messages associated with the sting operation. By searching the phone, NCIS learned that the Staff Sergeant was also in a sexual relationship with an underage high school girl at Kadena High School in Okinawa, Japan. That girl was later interviewed, and she admitted that she was in a long-term sexual relationship with the Marine. NCIS obtained hundreds of pages of sexual text messages between the two of them.

Prior to being charged, an unbelievable twist to the case occurred. The undercover NCIS agent, who was posing as a minor during the sting operation with the Marine, actually contacted the Staff Sergeant on social media, met up with him, and then the undercover NCIS agent actually had a sexual relationship with the Marine. This was discovered, she was investigated, and she deleted the relevant text messages from her phone. She was later removed from her position.

The government charged the Marine with over ten pages of charges relating to the sting operation and the actual sexual relationship with the high school girl. He was facing a mountain of evidence and a maximum sentence of over 100 years in prison.

Court martial lawyer for Article 120 UCMJ, Tim Bilecki, was retained and aggressively investigated the case, the nature of the sting operation and the nature of the relationship with the high school girl. Bilecki went after NCIS and filed numerous motions, including a motion to suppress the cell phone search, a motion to dismiss due to the agent deleting evidence from her phone and a motion to merge the charges.

Throughout this period, Mr. Bilecki entered into tough negotiations with the government and was able to secure a pre-trial agreement with a limitation on confinement of only two years. At the sentencing hearing, the military judge sentenced our client to fifteen (15) years and six (6) months. Because of the outstanding pre-trial agreement, thirteen (13) years and six (6) months of that sentence were reduced, and the approved sentence was only two years.

Bilecki did not stop there and filed an additional motion for Article 13 credit based on our client’s year-on-class Charlie liberty restriction up on Camp Schwab, Okinawa. The defense team won this motion and was awarded an additional 321 days of confinement credit.

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