3rd midshipman convicted of LSD-related charges 60-day prison term, discharge ordered

February 24, 1996|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Frederick E. "Freddie" Wilmot Jr.: athlete, honor student, Eagle Scout, choir boy, community volunteer, third-generation Naval Academy midshipman, convicted felon.

In a walnut-paneled courtroom at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday, Wilmot, 21, became the third midshipman this year to be convicted by court-martial of LSD-related drug charges and sentenced to prison and a dishonorable discharge.

The military judge, Marine Lt. Col. Ronald Rodgers, sentenced Wilmot, who is from Las Vegas, to 18 months in prison and dismissal. Under a pretrial agreement with Adm. Charles R. Larson, the academy superintendent who ordered the court-martial, the midshipman will serve 60 days.

Colonel Rodgers did not see the agreement until after he had announced his findings.

Last week, Erin P. Ogle, a 19-year-old sophomore from Prescott, Ariz., pleaded guilty to charges that she attempted to sell four LSD doses worth $10 to other midshipmen. She was sentenced to three months imprisonment and a dishonorable discharge.

Midshipman Jason A. Harloff of Fairport, N.Y., pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to 42 months in prison and discharge. He is to serve four months.

Midshipmen convicted in the drug scandal and dismissed from the service might have to repay the government for most of the cost of their education, about $250,000 for four years. Navy Secretary John H. Dalton said he will review the cases.

Academy officials said three more drug cases are being processed toward court-martial and that 18 other midshipmen are undergoing administrative hearings as the drug investigation continues. The results of those hearings are to be announced in late March or early April.

According to the evidence and Wilmot's admissions in court, the midshipman used LSD twice, in May at the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course and last summer in Virginia Beach, Va.

In October, he gave two other midshipmen $30 to buy LSD at a Glen Burnie motel. The buy was set up by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, whose agents were investigating possible drug use at the academy. The agents arrested the midshipmen couriers, one of whom was Harloff, when they arrived at the motel.

After evidence had been heard and character witnesses had testified yesterday, Colonel Rodgers said he had considered BTC Wilmot's good record and his immediate admission of involvement when questioned. But the offenses were so serious they required punishment, the judge said.

Several character witnesses, including a retired senior Drug Enforcement Administration agent and Wilmot's former scoutmaster spoke on his behalf, urging Colonel Rodgers to allow Wilmot to remain at the academy and become a naval officer.

For the past month, Wilmot has been assigned to the administrative office of the commander of the Washington Naval District. Cmdr. Bonnie Johnston, head of administration at the yard, said Wilmot has been a great asset to her office.

"He behaved himself like I would expect a future naval officer to behave," Commander Johnston said, adding that she knew Wilmot was in trouble but not the specifics of his case.

The midshipman's father, retired Navy Capt. Frederick E. Wilmot, described his son's achievements and his lifelong desire to follow his father and grandfather to the academy. He asked that his son be given a chance to redeem himself in the Navy.

Since his retirement from active duty, Captain Wilmot has headed the Junior Naval ROTC program at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas, from which his son graduated. He also scouts southern Nevada for potential Naval Academy entrants.

The former Navy pilot said he would use his son's troubles as a lesson for his ROTC students on the potential consequences of the "intellectual curiosity" that led to the younger Wilmot's drug experimentation.

"Kids in today's society don't consider the long-range ramifications of what they do," Captain Wilmot said. "This is more than just doing drugs or not; it's premarital sex, everything. Youth feels invincible."

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