A US Marine veteran indicted in a 3-child sexual assault case in New Jersey is facing up to ten years in prison, with his attorney partly blaming the misdeeds on combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A Union County grand jury has indicted 27-year-old Marine veteran Wade Phillips on three counts of second-degree sexual assault, third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree lewdness after -while serving as a recruiter- he attempted to lure three children into his government-issued vehicle on October 10 of last year.
Authorities report that Phillips spotted three pre-teens (one boy and two girls), parked his car, began touching himself and calling for the children. The youths immediately went to their school and reported the incident. Five days after the incident, police followed Phillip’s vehicle, taking him into custody without incident.
Phillips was a Sergeant at the time, but was removed from service after his arrest. During his time in the Marines, he had served two tours of duty in combat in Afghanistan and a third tour at the US Embassy in Iraq.
According to NJ.com, Brooke Barnett, his attorney, said that Phillips may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from his two tours of duty.
Barnett had attempted to enroll Phillips in Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), which places first-time offenders on probation that -if completed successfully- will strike the charge from their record.
Though the initial request has been denied by the prosecutor, Phillips’ attorney says she is appealing the decision.
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