Belfast Coast Guardsman convicted on child abuse charges

Feb 03, 2014

Juneau, Alaska — A military judge convicted a Coast Guardsman from Belfast on charges related to committing indecent acts with a child under 16 years of age and making a false statement to law enforcement officials.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Benjamin L. Sylvester, 43, was sentenced to serve seven years confinement with all but three years suspended, according to a press release from the U.S. Coast Guard.

He also received a dishonorable discharge; total forfeiture of all pay and allowances; and a reduction in rank as part of his sentencing.

According to the press release, the indecent act with a child offense occurred in 2004 when Sylvester was stationed with the Coast Guard in Maine. The allegations against Sylvester were brought to authorities by the victim in November of 2012. Coast Guard Investigative Service agents from Alaska, Virginia and Maine investigated the allegations, the press release stated.

Sylvester pleaded guilty to making a false official statement and to committing indecent acts with a child, according to the press release.

Sylvester was previously stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, and will serve his sentence at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in Miramar, Calif.


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