Accuser's credibility, mental ability at issue in rape trial
July 28, 2006
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A soldier accused of raping and sodomizing a woman in his barracks room here in August testified Wednesday that he and the woman had consensual sex only.
But the alleged victim, a mentally handicapped woman in her early 20s whose father is a soldier stationed in Seoul, testified Wednesday that the accused soldier, Pvt. Darren W. Williams, attacked her before saying “Get out, stupid.”
Williams is a cook with the 249th Military Police Detachment and has been in pretrial confinement at Camp Humphreys since March 8.
The testimony came in the third day of court-martial proceedings before Army Col. Gregory Gross, military judge, and a five-member jury.
Williams has pleaded not guilty to rape, forcible sodomy and disobeying orders of a superior commissioned officer.
But he pleaded guilty to wrongfully leaving the post after his off-post pass privileges were revoked when he became a suspect in the case.
On Wednesday, Williams gave his version of the Aug. 27 incident.
He said he became acquainted with the woman when she called her boyfriend but instead reached him. A series of conversations ensued, the two met at Yongsan Garrison and then later agreed to meet at Camp Humphreys.
Williams said he took the woman to his room, and they sat on his bed while he played a video game.
“She came up behind me, started kissin’ on my neck. I put the game on pause,” Williams said.
According to Williams, she said she wanted to perform a sex act on him, did so, and then, at her request, he had intercourse with her.
The alleged victim testified earlier in the day that the sex was not consensual.
When an argument arose after she said she wanted to stay in his room, Williams, according to the woman, told her: “Get out, stupid.”
Williams denied making the remark, but said he did tell her she was “stupid” for refusing offers of bus fare from himself and some fellow soldiers when they discovered she lacked enough cash for a bus ride back to Yongsan.
In other testimony Wednesday, prosecutors called as an expert witness a psychiatrist who said the alleged victim has “pervasive developmental disorder” and a mental age equivalent to that of someone in the 8- to 10-year-old range.
“It’s not a normal brain,” said Air Force Maj. Jennifer Chow, who recently completed an assignment as chief of psychiatric services at Osan Air Base, South Korea.
“My conclusion is, basically, I don’t think she does” have the ability to consent to sex, Chow said.
Much of the defense efforts Wednesday focused on the woman’s credibility.
The woman admitted she lied to her parents, telling them she would stay home and clean her room on Aug. 27 while they visited a local orphanage; instead, she took a bus to Camp Humphreys for her visit to Williams. She also admitted she kept up contact with Williams against her parents’ instructions.
And the defense established through testimony that the woman in early 2000 had accused her stepfather of touching her in a sexual manner but had recanted the allegation.
Under questioning by defense lawyer Capt. Jack Ko, the woman repeatedly answered “I do not remember” when confronted with what the defense contended were contradictory statements she’d made about events in Williams’ room Aug. 27.
“(Y)ou don’t remember a lot of things that put you in a bad light,” Ko said, triggering an objection from the prosecution, which Gross sustained.