A Coast Guardsman with the high endurance cutter Gallatin will face charges of rape and sexual assault at a court-martial Sept. 30 at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center-Charleston, S.C., the service announced Tuesday.
Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Omar Gomez, 35, faces a range of charges including rape, sexual assault, cruelty and maltreatment, making a false official statement and failure to obey a lawful order.
The charges allege that Gomez raped a civilian while she was incapacitated and repeatedly sexually assaulted female subordinates aboard the Gallatin, including forcefully touching their breasts, genitals and buttocks.
The sexual assault charges span a period between August 2011 and September 2012, while Gomez served aboard the Charleston-based cutter. The six alleged Coast Guard victims were subordinates of Gomez, and most of them worked for him directly, said Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Frederick, a Coast Guard spokesman.
The alleged rape and assaults were discovered during a six-month investigation that began when a female Gallatin crew member alleged in September 2012 that Gomez had sexually assaulted her. After her report, other crew members came forward with similar allegations.
A second rape charge against Gomez stemming from a 2006 incident in Seattle was thrown out after the alleged victim declined to cooperate with the legal proceedings, Frederick said.
Gomez has been transferred to the inland construction tender Anvil, also based in Charleston, while he awaits the court-martial, Frederick said.
Five of the alleged Coast Guard victims were transferred out of the Gallatin at their request, the service said. One alleged victim remains with the cutter.
“We are committed to ensuring the victims of sexual assault receive all the support and treatment they need, that their privacy is protected and that military justice is conducted in a timely, objective and fair process,” said Vice. Adm. Robert C. Parker, the Atlantic Area commander, in a statement.
Gomez is barred by a military protection order from contacting the alleged victims, Frederick said. He is also barred from Base Charleston facilities except to go to and from his ship, he said.
Gomez entered the Coast Guard in 2003. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of 92 years’ confinement and a dishonorable discharge, Frederick said.