Camp Casey officer on trial for allegedly assaulting private
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — A second lieutenant plied a 19-year-old male private with drinks and then sexually assaulted him, the private testified at a court-martial Monday at Camp Casey.
Second Lt. Phuong Quach, of the 302nd Brigade Support Battalion’s headquarters company, pleaded not guilty to the following three charges:
Failure to obey an order for his alleged role in serving the underage private a series of “Jell-O” shots made with soju and doused in Bacardi 151, a high-alcohol rum.Making a false official statement by denying assaulting the private to investigators.Conduct contrary to “good order and discipline” for sexually assaulting the private.The private told the court that he passed out early the morning of Jan. 7 after having multiple drinks at Quach’s quarters. He woke up that morning in Quach’s bed to find Quach’s hand around his genitals.
The private first met Quach while lifting weights. After two weeks of workouts, Quach invited him to dinner at his quarters.
He told the private that they were “like family” and asked the private to call him “P.Q.” instead of “sir,” the private testified.
The private said he avoided other invitations from Quach until Jan. 6, when Quach invited him and a now-specialist back to his quarters after they ran into each other at a bowling alley.
When they arrived at 11 p.m., Quach served several soju and rum drinks, which caused the private to become ill.
At the same time, the specialist said the three had playfully hit each other and wrestled, but that Quach was hugging and kissing them on the cheek and forehead.
The specialist said he told Quach “we’re not comfortable with that,” after which Quach apologized.
Quach then walked the two enlisted soldiers back to their barracks so they could sign in before curfew, but he asked them to come back afterward.
The three returned to Quach’s quarters, along with Pfc. Jesse Liendo.
Liendo said he witnessed the horseplay and said it made him uncomfortable, but he did not believe at the time that Quach had improper physical motives.
“I probably would have assaulted him if I thought he was coming on to me,” Liendo said.
Liendo said that when he woke up on the floor, he saw both the private and the specialist in Quach’s bed. The private testified earlier that he didn’t remember falling asleep, but that when he woke up, the specialist was sleeping in the hall.
When the private woke up, he lurched forward, “like sometimes when you have a bad dream,” he said. His shirt was off and he was no longer wearing his belt or underwear, but loosely wearing pants.
The private did not mention the assault to Army criminal investigators at first. He told Quach’s attorney that he was embarrassed, and that none of his statements were lies.
After the incident, the private was demoted from E-3 to E-2 for underage drinking, which the private attributed to “self-medicating” stemming mostly from the incident, along with troubles at home.
A different specialist testified Monday that on a separate occasion, after a night of drinking, Quach had invited him to his barracks and to sleep on the other side of his bed. A defense objection prevented the specialist from describing what happened next.
The specialist was allowed to state only that after an hour of rest, he did not spend the remainder of the night in the bed.
Following the testimony, Military Judge Col. Gregory Gross adjourned court until 9 a.m. Tuesday.