Coast Guard sailor: 'I know for sure I have doubts'

By Stacy

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- On the third day of trial for a Coast Guardsman charged with sexual assault and other mistreatment, the judge ordered a 3.5-hour interrogation tape played for the court.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Omar Gomez said he had doubts about what happened the night the U.S. government said he raped a young woman in a West Ashley apartment.

The alleged rape happened in February 2012.

The alleged victim claimed a man raped her while she was sleeping in bed next to her boyfriend, a Coast Guard sailor. The next morning, she identified the man as Gomez via his Facebook photo, she said.

The court listened to a 3.5-hour recording of Gomez being interrogated by a Coast Guard investigator.

In the audio recording, Gomez admitted he called his Coast Guard chief aboard the cutter Gallatin, stationed in Charleston, to tell him about a fellow sailor accusing him of raping the man's girlfriend. The chief said he already knew, as the alleged victim's boyfriend had reported it.

Soon after, the chief told Gomez the girl "came clean" and that it would no longer be an issue, he said. From then on, Gomez said the accuser's boyfriend was "talking like nothing happened." Gomez told the investigator that "bothered [him]."

An investigation began several months later, after another complainant came forward stating Gomez sexually harassed her.

When the investigator asked Gomez about the incident, he initially denied everything.

"I did not have sex with her as far as I know," he said.

But Gomez was conflicted over whether he was just too drunk to remember doing it.

"I really don't remember. With all my drinking... Holy crap, did I do that? There is a possibility I did something like that," he said during the interview.

Gomez told the investigator he'd been in a daze the night before the interview, which took place seven months after the alleged incident.

"Last night, I couldn't stop thinking, 'Did I do it?'" Gomez said. "I know for sure I have doubts."

He also maintained his innocence and asserted he'd be fine with taking the case to trial.

"I want to get this over, for the truth to come out, so I'm okay with this," he said.

But later, Gomez admitted he remembered having sex with a faceless female that night. He couldn't identify her face, but agreed with the investigator that the only possible female would be the accuser.

The investigator also accused Gomez of being a sex addict, to which he never agreed.

Gomez said he "treated girls and guys the same." He said that meant if he slapped a girl's butt, he would slap a guy's butt as well.

The court also learned from the recording that Gomez was married, though separated, at the time of the alleged rape, and has two young daughters. He also told the interrogator he'd held around 15 jobs.

In the afternoon, two female Coast Guard sailors testified regarding sexual harassment claims against their former superior. One of the women took a long pause before she recounted how Gomez responded when she told him she was pregnant.

"He said if I don't want the baby, he would put me on the small boat, which would end up in a miscarriage," she said while holding back tears.

The woman also recalled an incident when Gomez called her over in front of about 10 colleagues on the ship. She said he pulled his pants down and waived his genitals in her direction.

"I felt upset. I felt disrespected. I thought, 'Why does he keep doing that?' Nobody stopped him," she said.

She said he also squeezed her breasts during her pregnancy, and asked if it hurt.

Gomez is charged with sexual assault, failure to obey a lawful order, cruelty and maltreatment, making a false official statement and general articles.

Authorities also said Gomez took inappropriate photos of himself while aboard the ship. A woman testified today that he took her camera, put it down his pants and took photos of his genitals. She said she deleted them the next day.

The alleged incidents took place aboard Coast Guard Polar Star, based in Seattle, in 2006 and aboard the Gallatin, based in Charleston, in 2011 and 2012. Officials said the incidents occurred in Seattle, Charleston, Honduras, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

No other parties have been charged in this case, officials said.