Kunsan airman is found guilty of dorm-room rape
September 9, 2005
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — A military jury at Kunsan Air Base on Wednesday found an airman guilty of raping a female airman in her dorm room and sentenced him to five years in prison and a dishonorable discharge, officials said.
Senior Airman Eric Barber, 23, of the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron also was sentenced to forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Earlier Wednesday, the six-member jury of U.S. Air Force officers found Barber guilty of rape and of making a false official statement, said 1st Lt. Brooke Brander, a spokeswoman for the 8th Fighter Wing. The panel found him not guilty of a burglary charge but guilty of a lesser charge of unlawful entry.
The rape occurred April 9 in a dorm at the base, which is home to the 8th Fighter Wing, also known as the Wolf Pack. Barber’s squadron is part of the wing.
Barber’s general court-martial began Tuesday before military judge Col. Steven A. Hatfield, chief military judge of the Pacific Circuit, out of Yokota Air Base, Japan.
Prosecutors said Barber and the victim lived in the same dorm and were drinking together at an on-base lounge a few hours before the incident, according to Wolf Pack chief spokesman Capt. Richard Komurek. That was just days after the Wolf Pack completed a rigorous biannual inspection known as an ORI, or operational readiness inspection.
Sometime between 9 and 10 that night, prosecutors told the court, Barber and another male airman escorted the woman to her room, made sure she got to bed, and left, Komurek said.
But sometime after midnight, prosecutors said, Barber returned to the room and raped her.
On Tuesday, defense lawyer Capt. Christina Jimenez told the court that Barber contended he and the woman had consensual sex, Komurek said.
Also Tuesday, the other male airman, Senior Airman David Comstock, testified he and Barber left the woman in a passed-out state.
The woman told a friend she’d been raped. The friend told their unit first sergeant and an investigation ensued.
Kunsan-based agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations questioned Barber on April 15. Prosecutors asserted he provided them with two conflicting written statements about the incident. That led to the eventual charge of making a false official statement.
The Air Force charged Barber in the case June 1.
Barber was to be transported Thursday morning to the Eighth U.S. Army Confinement Facility at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Brander said.