Defense claims sibling switch in Okinawa rape case
NAHA, Okinawa — Charges of rape and burglary should be dismissed against a former Marine and Kadena New Car Sales employee because the wrong woman cried rape, the defense argued Thursday in Naha District Court.
In a summation lasting more than five hours, Toshimitsu Takaesu said the 21-year-old Chatan woman who claimed Dag Allen Thompson raped her on Aug. 22, 2004, actually was the sister of the woman who was attacked.
“It’s the only way her story makes any sense,” Takaesu said.
The woman took on the victim’s role to keep her sister from the public spotlight, he argued.
During testimony at an earlier hearing, the woman said she was asleep in her sister’s bed when awakened by a man fondling her. She said she did not yell out because she believed the man may have been her sister’s boyfriend and wished to avoid a scene.
After repeatedly telling the man to stop, she pushed him away and shone the light of her cell phone at his face. After he ran away, she cut a swath from the bed sheet on which he’d ejaculated and reported the incident at a nearby police station.
Based on her description of the attacker, Thompson was arrested in October 2004.
Forensic experts testified a DNA test of the bed sheet material matched Thompson’s DNA. The prosecution claims his DNA also matches that collected as evidence in the June 1998 rape of a 27-year-old Naha woman.
Prosecutor Masahisa Yokota seeks a 10-year sentence in a Japanese prison at hard labor.
Reading from a 43-page statement, Takaesu said, “I interviewed college students her own age. The women all said they would have screamed and immediately called the police.”
Instead, he said, Thompson’s accuser — a law school senior — calmly collected evidence and took it to the police station, backing up her story’s time line with a record of calls she’d made on her cell phone.
“As a law student she knew what evidence would be needed to prove a case of rape,” he said.
Takaesu said the woman had no boyfriend and reported she’d been raped to save her younger sister, who was engaged, the embarrassment of being recognized as a rape victim.
“I believe that the alleged victim reported the incident out of her love for her younger sister,” he said. “I have no intention of criticizing her action. However, the alleged offense against the alleged victim did not exist. Therefore, there is no valid criminal complaint in this case."
Takaesu said Thompson was coerced into making statements after being “emotionally tortured” by threats the prosecutor made. Thompson, 35, admitted entering the Chatan house and molesting whomever was in the bed but maintained he never raped the woman.
He also never was allowed to look at the woman when she testified via video from another room in the courthouse or to see photographs of his accuser or her sister, his lawyer said.
“He may have known the younger sister,” Takaesu said. “But he was not allowed to confirm that by seeing her picture.”
Takaesu said the possibility of reasonable doubt concerning the true victim of the Chatan case should be enough cause to dismiss charges in both incidents.
But he had other grounds for dismissal, he added.
He said the semen taken as evidence from the 1998 crime scene had been frozen for seven years and had “undoubtedly been contaminated.” He accused police of fabricating the positive DNA match, of substituting a cotton swab from the Chatan case to frame Thompson.
The court scheduled a hearing for March 24 to announce its findings.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.