NORFOLK, Va. – Seven Coast Guard crew members have been punished for their involvement in hazing incidents that included tying down fellow crew members and stripping them of their clothing, and officials said Friday that they have finished investigating the allegations.
Among other things, some of the men were found guilty in court martials of indecent exposure, assault and disorderly conduct. Six of the seven men made pre-trial agreements that resulted in some charges being dropped. Other current and former crew members aboard the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based cutter Venturous were also administratively disciplined for their roles.
One of the men was convicted of crimes including abusive sexual contact, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.
Coast Guard Atlantic Area spokesman Jamie Frederick said the hazing included crew members being "tied down, stripped and coated in foreign substances." The hazing occurred in the berthing areas of the ship between summer 2007 and winter 2009. Frederick did not elaborate on details of the hazing and said it would be impossible to know exactly how many people were hazed over the course of two years.
The ship has a crew of about 75, and the investigation began in the summer of 2009 after two former crew members reported what had been happening.
"The Coast Guard does not tolerate hazing of any kind," Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area, said in a statement. "Even the most junior Coast Guard member has the power, right and obligation to say 'no' to hazing."
Frederick said the hazing occurred only while the ship was out to sea. The Venturous operates in the Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico conducting law enforcement and search and rescue operations, among other things.
Several of the men who were court martialed had transferred to other locations before their trials, including Clearwater, Fla., Miami, Elizabeth City, N.C. and Alameda, Calif.
The court martials were conducted in several of those cities and in Norfolk between November and May. Punishments for the men included being sentenced to confinement, pay reductions and being kicked out of the service.