Deal reached in Coast Guard commander's trial

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010

ANCHORAGE - A senior Coast Guard commander accused of having inappropriate relationships with staff members has been demoted.

Capt. Herbert M. Hamilton III will retire on July 1 as a lieutenant with a general discharge rather than undergoing a court-martial, the Coast Guard said Friday.

Hamilton will forfeit $9,577 in pay, serve a maximum of 60 days restricted duty and receive a punitive letter of reprimand as part of the pre-trial agreement, KTUU-TV reported.

Hamilton was relieved of his Anchorage command in May 2009. He oversaw 200 Coast Guardsmen in Western Alaska.

A Coast Guard investigation found that Hamilton had inappropriate relationships with several women, including officer and enlisted Coast Guard members, and civilians, over a 13-year period.

He was charged with misusing government computers and cell phones, making false official statements and soliciting an enlisted member to destroy evidence.

"Interoffice senior-junior sexual relationships result in unfair advantages and are contrary to good order and discipline," Rear Adm. Christopher C. Colvin said in a statement.

"The resolution to this case should send a strong message that conduct unbecoming an officer and violations of the Coast Guard's interpersonal relationships policy will not be tolerated and may have significant repercussions, especially at the senior officer level," he said.

Hamilton took the Anchorage position in August 2008 and previously served as deputy commander for Coast Guard operations in the Los Angeles area.

The Anchorage role includes diverse duties, such as verifying compliance of fishing vessels in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, and inspecting vessels transporting freight and passengers between the Lower 48 and western Alaska.

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