“What the Coast Guard did was both a crime and an act of terrorism. It was designed to result in the violent destruction of CDR Strickland’s personal life and career; and to spread terror in the hearts and minds of other officers, cadets, and personnel for the purpose of coercion to make them change their minds and actions when they consider reporting acts of sexual harassment or assault, as it is their sworn duty to do.” (Judge L. Steverson, USALJ (Ret)
Agent Scholz (picture attached) was the previous supervisor at Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) Resident Agent Office Kodiak, Alaska. He is now detailed to the CGIS “Electronic Crimes Unit” in Alexandria, Virginia. At the behest of his superiors, Agent Scholz flew to Kodiak and seized 100% of the MUNRO crew’s emails.
It was Agent Scholz who conducted the unlawful search and seizure of CDR Strickland’s stateroom onboard the ship after CAPT Thomas suggested CDR Strickland depart the ship on leave. While CDR Strickland was away, Agent Scholz entered CDR Strickland’s private living quarters to conduct his illegal search. After snooping through CDR Strickland’s personal quarters, the agent seized his computer and portable hard drive. Agent Scholz later called CDR Strickland at his home and demanded CDR Strickland’s password so he could search the hard drive’s contents. This was all conducted without a valid search authorization by a military judge (as required by Coast Guard policy). Additionally, no CG Form 6012 was submitted by Agent Scholz or Agent Woods to state a valid reason for their search of CDR Strickland’s stateroom and computer.
Months later (and after the investigations were complete and submitted), Agent Scholz later sent Agent Woods copies of CDR Strickland’s IM conversations totaling over 20,000 IMs and dating back prior to CDR Strickland’s assignment. These were used to remove CDR Strickland from his position of command.
The witch-hunt of CDR Benjamin Strickland is a cautionary tale and warning to those service members who want to stand-up in support victims of sexual assault. The Coast Guard has made it clear that victims of sexual abuse are expected to remain silent. Sexual assaults are covered up and kept under the radar; otherwise, the public may rightfully believe that there is a problem. The Coast Guard’s message is clear “If you help victims of sexual abuse you will be hunted down and destroyed.”
We have reached out to Agent Scholz for a statement. He has refused to respond.