Earlier this week, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sheldon Bond faced the possibility of life imprisonment after being charged with sexual assault.
After being convicted only of adultery during a four-day Coast Guard court martial, he received his sentence Thursday: no punishment.
A seven-member jury acquitted Bond of charges of sexual assault and wrongful sexual contact after 3 1/2 hours of deliberation Wednesday. The jury reconvened Thursday to decide Bond’s sentence for adultery, with the maximum penalty being dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and a one-year jail sentence.
In the military, adultery is defined as sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not his or her spouse — but the conduct also has to bring discredit to the armed forces.
When deciding if behavior is service-discrediting, jurors are instructed to consider the accused’s rank, any misuse of government time and whether the affair continued after orders to stop.
While Bond admits the pair had sex, he told investigators it was consensual. He did not testify during the court martial.