Airman in South Korea pleads innocent to raping fellow airman
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An airman pleaded innocent here Wednesday to charges arising from a female airman’s accusation that he raped her in her dorm room in April.
Senior Airman Calvin Wheeler Jr., of Osan’s 51st Communications Squadron, is charged with rape and adultery.
He’s being tried by general court-martial before Air Force Col. Steven A. Hatfield, military judge, and a six-member jury of Air Force commissioned officers. Hatfield is chief military judge for the Pacific Circuit out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.
Prosecutors said Wheeler developed a fondness for the woman while both were stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Both eventually were assigned to Osan Air Base and renewed their acquaintance.
According to the woman’s testimony Wednesday, the two were among a group of friends who spent several hours socializing, first at a barbecue party and then at the off-base Bounce Club.
Later, she testified, she agreed to let Wheeler sleep in her dorm room and the two took a taxi to the dorm.
Once in her room, she said, Wheeler took off his shoes and lay atop her bed, even though they had “discussed him sleeping on the floor.”
Wearing a T-shirt, bra and panties, she joined Wheeler in bed. Wheeler, she said, began kissing her and she asked him to stop, reminding him she had a boyfriend.
Then, she testified, she fell asleep but awakened to find that her bra had been moved out of position.
“He was messing with my panties” and ignoring her pleas that he stop, she said.
The woman contended to the court that Wheeler then made several attempts to penetrate her sexually and ultimately succeeded.
Under cross-examination by defense lawyer Capt. Gloria Downey, the woman said she did not scream, pound the wall to alert her suitemate or otherwise call for help during the incident. Downey is Area Defense Counsel at Osan Air Base.
The woman answered “yes” when Downey asked whether she has claimed to have been raped by six different men while in the Air Force, five of them while at Nellis Air Force Base.
“But, to this day, you haven’t reported the other five rapes to anyone?” Downey asked the woman.
“Yes,” she answered.
Hatfield recessed the court until Thursday morning, at which time additional witnesses were to be called.