Crime

Coast Guardsman accused of lewd behavior involving minor released on $75,000 bond

A 20-year-old U.S. Coast Guard seaman apprentice was released Monday from the Florida Keys jail on $75,000 bond following his arrest last week on a felony charge of lewd and lascivious behavior involving a minor.

Daniel Gutierrez, arrested by Key West police Sunday, was assigned to the cutter Mohawk but since his arrest has been "assigned elsewhere," said Sector Key West spokesman Peter Bermont. He is not officially attached to the sector but instead to the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area.

He's accused of having sex with a 15-year-old Key West High School student -- and is under investigation for the same thing with a 17-year-old at the school, said Coast Guard Investigative Service Agent Paul Shultz. The Coast Guard started its investigation Thursday.

According to Key West police, Key West High counselor Elizabeth Kruse notified Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Justin Nadolny that Gutierrez was allegedly in contact with 15- to 16-year-old girls at the school and was dating a sophomore.

Schultz interviewed Gutierrez and the 15-year-old separately and learned they had sex March 24 at the Fly Navy hotel at Trumbo Point after meeting three days earlier. Shultz said he found "mass amounts" of electronic communications between the two.

Gutierrez will not face a court-martial. Instead, he will be tried by the Monroe County State Attorney's Office to minimize the student's involvement with the legal system.

"One warrant was served on [Gutierrez] already with the possibility of additional charges," Shultz said. "Because of the complexity of dealing with a local juvenile victim, we decided to charge him by the state."

Prosecutor Mark Wilson with the State Attorney's Office said Gutierrez could face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Bermont said the Coast Guard "takes any sort of sexual assault extremely seriously. We're working close with local police on the case." 

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