Sitka-Based Coast Guard Member Faces Court-Martial

A court-martial for a Coast Guard petty officer accused of rape and sexual contact is being pushed back.

The court martial for 26-year-old Petty Officer 3rd Class William Bisel had been scheduled to begin Wednesday. But a Coast Guard spokesman says some procedural issues arose, likely pushing back the court martial by several weeks.

The Coast Guard says Bisel, who is based in Sitka, is charged with two violations of a section of the Uniform Code of Military Justice covering sexual assault.

Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, who is commander of the Coast Guard in Alaska, decided to move forward with the court-martial after an Article 32 hearing was held last winter, during which reasonable grounds were found to try Bisel.

An Article 32 hearing is similar to a grand jury proceeding.