2nd ID soldier pleads not guilty at start of rape trial
Stars and Stripes June 13, 2007
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A 2nd Infantry Division soldier pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and forcible sodomy during the first day of his court-martial Monday.
But Spc. Stacey Barksdale did plead guilty to dereliction of duty and adultery.
Prosecutors said that Barksdale, who had been standing duty in his barracks Feb. 3, sodomized and had sexual intercourse with a victim too drunk to give consent.
Defense attorneys, however, said the alleged victim initiated the encounter and that she claimed rape only because she feared she could have become pregnant by Barksdale, who is black, while she had a white fiance.
“This is a case of a woman who had consensual sex with an African-American man while she was engaged to a Caucasian man in the United States,” said defense attorney Capt. Jack Ko in his opening remarks.
According to testimony, the woman had been drinking at an off-base club and was so intoxicated she had to be helped back to her room.
One soldier she had been drinking with, Pfc. Canaan Wright, testified that Barksdale and another soldier helped him get her back to her room.
Wright said he placed the woman on her bed after she vomited and passed out. He said he left after Barksdale promised to periodically check in on her.
He said he was awakened some time later in his room when the woman came to him crying and saying that she had been raped.
Wright said the woman told him she had become a statistic and began talking about things she learned in a sexual assault briefing, including how most assaults involve alcohol and someone the victim knows.
Cpl. Min Kyung-bum, a Korean augmentee who had been on duty with Barksdale, testified that the woman was visibly drunk when she returned to the barracks and that Barksdale had checked on her several times that night.
The defense pointed out inconsistencies between the woman’s statements to criminal investigators and her testimony Monday.
In answering prosecution questions, she said she awoke to find Barksdale raping her, scrambled out of bed and hid in the closet. But Ko pointed out that in February, she had told investigators that Barksdale sat down on the bed next to her to ask her if she was OK.
“I don’t know what position we were in or what shoes he was wearing or anything like that,” she replied.
The defense also introduced evidence that the woman was overheard using a racial slur when telling someone on the phone that she had “almost” been raped.
The woman denied the accusation, saying: “I would never have used the word ‘almost.’”
The prosecution rested its case late Monday afternoon and the defense was to begin calling its witnesses Tuesday morning.