Court-martial for airman accused of child rape to begin
Stars and Stripes June 5, 2003
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A court-martial that could land an airman in prison for life was due to start here Wednesday, following a day of pretrial proceedings.
A technical sergeant assigned to Yokota’s 374th Communications Squadron is accused of raping his daughter while she was a teenager. Although the two share the same last name, the alleged victim is not the man’s biological daughter, she testified Tuesday.
Stars and Stripes policy is not to name the alleged victim in sexual-assault cases — or the accused, if doing so would identify the alleged victim.
The airman also faces three charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 134: indecent assault, possessing child pornography and disorderly conduct. The latter relates to allegations he hid a camera in the girl’s closet and secretly videotaped her while she dressed and undressed.
Attorneys for the U.S. government and the airman argued Tuesday about whether the military judge, Col. David Brash, should allow certain testimony during the court-martial.
The alleged victim accused the airman Tuesday of additional misconduct — behavior for which he was not charged because of a five-year statute of limitations. In cases of child abuse or rape, a judge may decide to enter such evidence.
Prosecutors argued the allegations show the man’s propensity to commit future crimes, while his lawyers maintained the evidence could unfairly influence the jury to impose a tougher sentence.
Brash, the Pacific theater’s chief military judge, deliberated in his chambers on the matter Tuesday afternoon and was expected to return with a decision Wednesday morning.
The five-year statute of limitations does not apply in cases, such as rape, that are punishable by death in the military.
“We didn’t charge this as a capital offense,” said Capt. John Harwood, chief of military justice for the 374th Airlift Wing’s legal office. “Life in prison is what he’s facing.”
The alleged victim, who is 21, lived on Yokota Air Base for three years with her father and two brothers. She now resides in Maryland. Her husband reported the alleged rapes to Yokota’s Office of Special Investigations last summer.
The woman has accused the airman, whom she referred to Tuesday as her father, of raping her starting when she was 14.
On Wednesday, the airman is expected to enter a plea. If he pleads not guilty, he could choose to have his case heard by a panel of military jurors.