Los Angeles Times
June 7, 2005

Naval Professor Who Lied Gets Probation

Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. A naval professor was sentenced Tuesday to a year of probation for lying about a visit to Cuba to see his mistress.

Alberto Coll, the Cuban-born chairman of the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, pleaded guilty in March to lying about the purpose of the visit in 2004. Coll told federal authorities he was visiting an ailing aunt.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux also fined Coll $5,000, calling the crime an aberration and an "error in judgment."

Coll, 49, apologized Tuesday to his wife and his college-age son.

"Through my conduct, I have set a bad example for him -- and I am sorry for that," Coll said. "He deserves better."

U.S. trade restrictions against Cuba require those planning a visit to apply for permission. The State Department lists a limited number of reasons for which trips to Cuba may be allowed -- including visits to immediate family members.

The real reason for the trip came out during a standard debriefing at the Naval War College, according to Coll's lawyer.

As part of his plea bargain, Coll agreed not to seek any job that would involve access to classified information. He remains employed by the college.

From 1990 to 1993, Coll was a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the administration of the first President Bush.