The decorated Marine Corps colonel found guilty of sexually abusing the six-year-old daughter of a subordinate will be stripped of his military benefits and forced to register as a sex offender, according to Marine Corps Times.
Col. Daniel Wilson was convicted by a military jury on 23 specifications, including sexually abusing a minor and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison on Sept. 10.
Wilson was also dismissed after 36 years in the Marine Corps, forfeiting his benefits as a result. Branch officials said that when Wilson gets out of jail, he will also be required to register as a sex offender.
“All 50 states have sex offender registries and all are different,” II MEF spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Armistead told Marine Corps Times. “But generally, all would require him to at least be in a database for this type of offense. Other issues like housing restrictions, his photo on a website, how long he would be required to register, etc., all depend on the state.”
The details of the Wilson’s crimes, laid out before the jury over a 10-day trial, are deeply disturbing. The unnamed Marine serving under Wilson claimed that the colonel molested his 6-year-old daughter at his Camp Lejeune home, Military.com reported.
The girl’s parents alleged that Wilson had raped their daughter and taken liberties with her twin sister. However, this accusation, as well as an unrelated sexual-assault charge from a fellow officer’s wife, were found to be unsubstantiated.
Some believe that Wilson’s sentence was relatively light due to his elevated rank and service history. Retired JAG officer James Weirick told Military.com that he believes Wilson should have been sent to the brig early on, but wasn’t because of his military rank. Another JAG said it would have proven difficult to make such a decision stick, but was also appalled at the jury’s sentencing decision.
“Based on sentences that I’ve seen, it’s hard to believe that somebody would just get five years for this if they were sporting stripes on their sleeve,” Navy JAG officer Brian Bouffard told Military.com.
Wilson has continued to maintain his innocence. “I’ve spent 35 years in the Marine Corps, never accused of anything at all,” Wilson reportedly said in a recording of a Naval Criminal Investigative Service interview obtained by the Daily Beast, “And then, boom! Your whole world is upside down.”
A woman named Becky, claiming to be Wilson’s sister, reached out to Task & Purpose following the publication of our initial story on the colonel’s conviction. “It was a set-up,” she insisted. “That is not Dan at all.”