A Coast Guard lieutenant will be demoted and forced to retire after he pleaded guilty to sexual offenses during his time as the engineering officer of the North Charleston-based cutter Gallatin.
Lt. Wayne Barfield, 44, a Charleston-area native, avoided jail time when he took the plea deal Wednesday and avoided a court-martial for violations of four military laws.
Under the agreement, the Coast Guard will dock $1,000 of his monthly pay for the next year, give him a letter of reprimand and restrict him for 60 days to Facilities Engineering Base in Elizabeth City, N.C.
He also agreed to retire at the end of that year as a chief warrant officer two, the lowest commissioned rank in the Coast Guard. The move allows him to keep his pension, but at a lower rate.
Vice Admiral Robert Parker, the convening authority, pushed the case toward a court-martial scheduled for Wednesday in Norfolk, Va.
Barfield is the second Coast Guardsman to face penalties for his participation in what witnesses called a culture of sex aboard the 378-foot ship that's set to be decommissioned later this month.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Omar Gomez was convicted in December and sent to a military prison for eight years on various sex charges, including rape. Some of Gomez's alleged victims were female seamen under his command.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service launched a probe into what was happening on the Gallatin after a woman targeted by Gomez came forward.
The accusations against Barfield were connected with conduct starting in June 2012 while the Gallatin was docked in North Charleston, and continuing for the next year while the ship was touring the Caribbean.
He violated four military laws regarding assault, maltreatment, unbecoming conduct and fraternization.
Barfield made sexual remarks to women subject to his orders and pulled down one victim's bathing suit top in Panama, court documents stated. He also drank and roughhoused in a swimming pool with some of his underlings.
He had been on administrative duty in North Carolina and at Marine Safety Unit Savannah as he waited for his trial, but his Navy attorneys and prosecutors ironed out the plea agreement before his case got to that point.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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