Miami-Dade County

Petty officer accused of sexual assault faces court martial in Miami

Court martial proceedings are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning against a Coast Guard petty officer accused of sexually assaulting a civilian woman.

A four-month investigation resulted in charges that Petty Officer Tyler A. Banks, 30, assaulted a woman in March 2013 at his Miami-area residence. He faces two counts of sexual assault and is also accused of knowingly denying the assault when investigators asked him about it in October, according to charge sheets.

Banks, originally from Santa Clara, California, enlisted in the Coast Guard about seven years ago and has been stationed in the facilities engineering department of Base Miami Beach for four years, said Lt. Commander Gabe Somma.

Banks will go before Coast Guard Capt. Christine Cutter, the judge, and a panel of at least five members, although Banks can opt to be tried without the panel. If found guilty, he could face life in prison, reduction to the lowest pay grade, total forfeitures of future pay and a dishonorable discharge.

The last court martial in the Miami district was on Sept. 4 in Puerto Rico, where Lt. Daniel G. Eyer pled guilty to sexual misconduct, Somma said. Eyer was sentenced to 24 months confinement and dismissal from the Coast Guard.