Department of Defense employee admits sexually abusing sleeping co-worker

A Department of Defense civilian employee has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a co-worker as she slept while stationed in Japan, federal authorities said.

Michael S. Cerera, 36, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of abusive sexual contact, admitting that he crawled into a fellow employee’s hotel bed as she slept while on a temporary duty assignment in Yokosuka in January 2016, according to Department of Justice officials.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan said the victim awoke to find that Cerera had pushed her shirt up and kissed or licked the right side of her body. He also put his hand down the back of her underwear and digitally penetrated her vagina, authorities said.

Cerera, of Port Orchard, Washington, will be required to register as a sex offender when he’s sentenced on Aug. 9. He remains out of custody after posting bond, according to Stars and Stripes.

Cerera could face up to three years in prison and five years of probation, but prosecutors said in a plea agreement that they would recommend a sentence on the “low end” of those guidelines. He could also be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine, as well as restitution to his victim, Stars and Stripes reported.

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