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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 23, 2021

Military spouse pleads guilty to molesting child on two different military installations

Sexually abused child left in his care in Hawaii and Washington State

Tacoma – A 39-year-old civilian resident of Joint Base Lewis McChord pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to abusive sexual contact with a child under 12, and sexual abuse of a child, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  Shawn Matthew Wilcher faces up to life in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle on November 15, 2021.

According to the plea agreement and other records filed in the case, Wilcher is the spouse of an active-duty enlisted Army soldier.  Between October 2015 and January 2018, Wilcher resided with his spouse on Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.  Between October 1, 2018 and May 21, 2019, Wilcher and his spouse resided on Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM).  Wilcher admits in his plea agreement that he sexually molested a young child left in his care during his residence at both military bases.  The abuse came to light in May 2019, when the victim disclosed the abuse to a friend who reported it to a school counselor.  Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID) and the FBI immediately investigated the case.  Wilcher has been in custody since his arrest on May 25, 2019.

The charges in the District of Hawaii and the Western District of Washington are both resolved by this plea agreement. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the prosecutors will recommend a sentence of not more than 27 years in prison.  Judge Settle is not bound by the plea agreement and is free to impose any sentence allowed by law up to life in prison.  The defense and prosecution have both agreed that Wilcher will be on lifetime supervision following any prison term and will be required to register as a sex offender.

The case was investigated by the FBI and Army CID.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Grady Leupold and Matt Hampton for the Western District of Washington, and Morgan Early for the District of Hawaii.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated August 23, 2021