Court-martial hears private’s recollection of assault
Stars and Stripes June 30, 2007
SEOUL — When the sergeant saw her near the barracks stairway one February night and mouthed to her, “Come to my room,” the private said she didn’t worry. And when he put his hand on hers as they talked while sitting on his bed, she still didn’t worry.
“I thought it was a little strange, but I took it as a friendly gesture,” the 19-year-old private said Thursday during a court-martial for Sgt. Anthony Medellin Jr., a former confidante who she says stripped her clothes off, pinned her down and fondled her later that night.
Medellin, 35, a mechanic with the 94th Military Police Battalion, has pleaded not guilty to charges of violating a lawful order, maltreatment and indecent assault of the private in his closed-door room at a Camp Casey barracks on Feb. 1.
Medellin, who has since been transferred to Yongsan Garrison, did not testify on Thursday, and he and his lawyer declined to comment for this story.
The private, who was part of Medellin’s unit at Camp Casey, testified she became scared when he started to kiss her. She kissed him back — because she was nervous and surprised, she said — but had never considered having a relationship with him.
“He was supposed to be my friend. I was a private and he was a sergeant,” she said. “I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”
She said Medellin pulled her on top of him and tried to take off her shirt when she tried to leave. He eventually took off her shirt, bra and pants, and fondled her, she testified.
“I was trying to get up, and he kept pushing me down and he put my arms above my head and he kept pushing me down,” she said. “He said it would be OK. Nobody would find out.”
When she tried to find her bra, he said, “I’ll just keep it,” she said. When she tried to find her cell phone, which she had put on the bed when she arrived, he wouldn’t give it to her until she kissed him again, she said.
Before she left, Medellin opened his door, walked outside to see if anyone was in the hall and then said she could leave, the private testified.
The woman, who joined the Army less than a year ago and moved to South Korea in January, said she didn’t try to attract attention during the hour-long encounter or immediately report it because of Medellin’s rank and because she was afraid of what he could do to her.
“I’m the quiet type who doesn’t like trouble,” she said. “I didn’t want to stir up any problems.”
The defense called only one witness, Pfc. Tracy Maberry, who told the court that the alleged victim had expressed worry that she was getting a reputation for sleeping around. In earlier questioning by the prosecutor, Maberry said Medellin had suggested to her they make their own pornographic movie when he was looking at the movies she had in her room. Maberry said she avoided Medellin after he made that comment, and would walk the other way if she saw him approaching.
Eight other Camp Casey soldiers testified Thursday that Medellin had made inappropriate sexual comments or gestures to them or to their friends.
One soldier, Pvt. Alicia Foy, described an explicit conversation with Medellin in the barracks in February that included him writing questions of a sexual nature in her notebook.
Marvin Reed, a forensic document examiner with the Criminal Investigative Command, testified that the handwriting in the notebook appeared to be Medellin’s.
Foy said the conversation and the written questions were sexual in nature and unwelcome.
“It made me not trust my senior male NCOs because I didn’t know if they were all going to come on like that or make gestures like that,” she said.
The case was expected to go to jury Friday.