RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — An Air Force staff sergeant was sentenced to 5½ years of confinement and given a dishonorable discharge after being convicted Saturday on charges of rape and assault.

Staff Sgt. John Jackson Jr. was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend, a 23-year-old German, in December 2006 and January 2007 and raping her in July 2007, after the couple broke up. He was married to a British national during his relationship with the victim.

"(Jackson was convicted of) the December 2006 assault, where he dragged her down the stairs," said the prosecuting attorney, Air Force Capt. Lyndie Freeman, in a telephone interview Monday.

Jackson, a 13-year veteran, could ask for clemency from the 3rd Air Force’s commander, who could deny the request or set aside the verdict to reduce the sentence, said one of Jackson’s defense attorneys, Shane McCammon.

Jackson could appeal the case if he is not granted clemency.

The victim was on the stand for several hours and at times became emotional as she described the rape and assault.

"He grabbed my ankles. … I tried hard to hold onto something. I was screaming. Everything hurt," the victim said during testimony on Friday about being dragged down the stairs at Jackson’s residence.

Prosecutors called the victim to the stand as well as her mother, who saw the bruises after she was dragged down the stairs; two of the victim’s friends; and a psychologist, who testified about rape victims’ typical behavior.

The defense did not call any witnesses to testify until they called a psychologist to testify during the sentencing phase, Freeman said.

Jackson’s attorneys alleged that the victim made up the rape because she started having an affair with an old flame during Jackson’s deployment to Iraq. The defense argued it was more a case of regret than rape.

During the proceedings, another defense attorney, Maj. Lance Aiumopas, read several of the love e-mails the victim wrote to Jackson while he was deployed.

The victim testified that she didn’t want to break up via e-mail with Jackson while he was in Iraq. Her memory was a little cloudy about some of her meetings with Jackson when he returned to Germany.

The victim also testified about her rocky relationship with Jackson.

"He started to become controlling and jealous. He tried to embarrass me in front of other people," she said. "I didn’t see all that bad stuff I’m seeing now."

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