Coast Guard takes rape case to SC court-martial

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A Coast Guard petty officer accused of rape, sexual assault and other charges will face a court-martial expected to begin in September in South Carolina, military officials said Tuesday.

The commander of the Coast Guard district headquartered in Portsmouth, Va., said in a news release that a hearing found grounds to put Petty Officer 2nd Class Omar Gomez on trial in Charleston.

The charges allege that Gomez, 35, engaged in a range of sexual misconduct from rape to inappropriate comments involving two civilians and six Coast Guard women.

The investigation began after a reported sexual assault last September aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin, which is based in Charleston. Officials say that led to other cases ranging from the Seattle area to Honduras and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gomez has been assigned to another unit in South Carolina.

A charge related to an alleged 2006 rape will not be pursued because the victim decided not to participate in legal proceedings, the Coast Guard said.

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