10-year-old testifies at NCO’s court-martial
January 30, 2007
RAF MILDENHALL, England — The court-martial of an RAF Alconbury noncommissioned officer charged with child rape, sodomy and assault continued Monday with a 10-year-old witness taking the stand to testify.
Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Spaulding, who serves with the 423rd Civil Engineering Squadron, sat quietly as the fourth-grade pupil was first questioned by the Air Force prosecutor, Capt. Shelly Frank, and then by the civilian defense attorney, Greg McCormack.
The victim, whose identity will remain anonymous in accordance with Stars and Stripes’ policy not to name a victim of an alleged sexual assault, visibly trembled as she recalled the alleged rape that occurred between Nov. 11 and Dec. 31, 2004, according to Air Force court records.
Col. Dawn Eflein, chief trial judge of the Air Force, had to call a brief recess during the girl’s testimony as the witness appeared ill.
During questioning by Frank, the witness testified about the details of the alleged attack, speaking in sparse, truncated sentences.
Frank’s questioning lasted roughly 30 minutes and focused on the alleged rape and about her role as a witness to other assaults. McCormack’s questioning ran over two hours and focused on topics separate from the alleged attack.
During McCormack’s questioning, the victim said she has seen ghosts repeatedly and that she often hears voices speaking to her.
Spaulding serves at RAF Alconbury, but the court-martial is being held at RAF Mildenhall because Spaulding falls under the command of the Mildenhall-based 501st Combat Support Wing.
He faces five charges, including rape, child rape, sodomy, assault and wrongfully communicating a threat, according to Air Force court records. The court-martial was to continue Tuesday and is expected to run through the week.