A decorated colonel who served for more than three decades was sentenced to 5½ years for sexually abusing the 6-year-old daughter of another Marine.
Col. Daniel Wilson, 56, was accused of fondling and raping the girl at his home on Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., during a two-week period in the summer of 2016 after the girl’s family befriended Wilson and his wife, the Daily Beast reported.
Wilson, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, was convicted Saturday of molesting the child, but found not guilty of raping the child by penetrating her with his finger.
Prosecutors also claimed Wilson licked and spanked the girl’s twin sister, and offered both twins and their older 10-year-old sister alcohol. He was acquitted on those charges.
The girl, who reportedly told her parents that she had been assaulted by “Uncle Dan” on July 13, 2016, testified earlier this month that Wilson touched her “private part” over and under her shorts while she sat on his lap, the Daily Beast reported.
Her parents also told the court their daughter has experienced nightmares and anxious moods in the year since the alleged assaults.
After the girl first made the allegations, her father called the colonel the next day, saying, “I’m so lost, sir. You’re a father to me, you’ve been a role model to me… but I know she’s not lying.”
The parents filed a complaint with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Wilson was charged in November 2016.
After authorities at the base ruled Wilson would not be jailed while he was awaiting court-martial, a 49-year-old woman also accused the colonel of sexually assaulting her during a December 2016 trip to South Carolina with Wilson and his wife.
He was confined in January at the Marine Corps Installations East Regional Brig after the second sexual assault allegations emerged.
While Wilson was found not guilty of assaulting the 49-year-old, who was the estranged wife of a doctor at Camp Lejeune, he was convicted of taking an unauthorized absence for the trip.
He was also found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer for crude behavior for a series of incidents dating back to February 2016.
Wilson was accused of inappropriate behavior, which included making sexual comments to a colleague’s wife and asking an officer for a pair of his wife’s underwear. He was dismissed just 10 days into his post in Darwin, Australia as a result, Military.com reported.
Wilson was also sentenced to be discharged from the Marine Corps. He and his wife will likely lose their military pension, which his defense lawyer said was worth more than $ 5 million.
The colonel, who has served for 36 years, has received an array of awards, including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star, the Daily Beast reported.