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WIESBADEN, Germany — The court-martial for a Germany-based Army chaplain accused of assaulting his wife and dislocating her collarbone began Wednesday at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield.

Lt. Col. Gerald Moates, who was the head chaplain at U.S. Army Garrison Giessen when the alleged assault took place, faces two specifications relating to assaulting his wife, Felicia.

One specification has to do with Moates allegedly choking her between February and September of 2005. Another has to do with an August incident in which Moates allegedly grabbed his wife’s arm with such force that it dislocated her collarbone where it connects to the breastbone, according to a charge sheet.

On Wednesday, prosecutors in the case described an escalation of domestic violence that began after the two married in 2004. The alleged beatings and choking of Felicia Moates took place throughout 2005 and led up to and after the collarbone incident, according to prosecutors.

Moates’ defense team, led by civilian attorney Guy Womack, suggested through cross examination of Felicia Moates that a car accident in the late 1980s affected her memory and motor functions, including walking, which may have led to her injury.

During cross-examination, Womack asked Felicia Moates about gaps in her memory, and previous marriages when she had accused husbands of abuse.

She said the abuse she suffered by Gerald Moates was bad, but that she didn’t want her husband to get into trouble.

“Physically, my mouth could have done it, but my heart wouldn’t be able to do it,” she said. “I thought I married a godly man.”

The dislocation caused an unnatural bump near where the collarbone and breastbone normally meet, testified Dr. Robert Wenzel, an Army major who treated her after the injury. Such an injury can cause long-term problems such as arthritis, he said.

Felicia Moates told him at a later appointment that her husband caused the injury, Wenzel said.

The injury is often seen in sports, when an athlete is slammed or tackled to the ground, he said.

Based on the injury and talking with Felicia Moates, Wenzel said he believed the injury was consistent with a nonaccidental cause.

“Some sort of force has to be applied to the shoulder for this to happen,” he said, adding that there were also multiple bruises on her chest, thighs and arms.

The prosecution has rested its case. The trial is expected to continue Thursday.

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