Coast Guard sailor Edgar Sison has surrendered his credential to work on ships after being accused of sexually assaulting his subordinate, a college student. While Sison will not face criminal charges, he has been administratively charged by Coast Guard officials. The case gained national attention when the victim, Hope Hicks, shared her account of the incident on a blog. Hicks alleged that Sison and other top officers forced her to consume alcohol until she became incapacitated, and Sison then attacked her. The case prompted reforms in the shipping industry and sparked outrage from Congress.
The allegations brought attention to the issue of sexual assaults in the maritime industry, particularly against students from the Merchant Marine Academy. It also exposed problems and limitations in the US Coast Guard’s ability to investigate such offenses. CNN’s investigation found that the Coast Guard has been lenient and inconsistent with sanctions for mariners found guilty of sexual offenses. Additionally, the agency has done little to prevent alleged predators from working on ships during lengthy investigations.
While disappointed that Sison will not face criminal charges, Hicks expressed relief that her long journey has come to an end. The Coast Guard stated that it is committed to preventing sexual misconduct in the maritime industry and responding to allegations in a timely and professional manner.