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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis Gilbey was found innocent of rape, sodomy and sexual assault Thursday after a three-day court-martial on charges stemming from an incident with a female airman in May.

But the all-male panel found him guilty of giving false official statements during the investigation and sentenced him to a year in prison, reduction in rank to E-1 and forfeiture of pay and allowances.

Gilbey, 21, assigned to Camp Schwab, stood at attention as he listened to the panel’s president read the sentence, which granted his request to remain a Marine.

Gilbey was charged with attempting to have sex with a 20-year-old airman, his girlfriend’s best friend, in her Kadena Air Base barracks room on May 18. He had come to her room asking permission to sleep on the floor after a night of heavy drinking on Gate Two Street, according to testimony during the trial.

Sometime during the night, he crawled into the woman’s bed, fondled her and then attempted to have sex. The airman said she bolted from the bed when she felt someone on top of her.

The major issue during the trial was consent. The woman said she was asleep and never gave Gilbey permission or demonstrated she was willing to have sex with him.

Gilbey testified that he thought the woman had been awake and given him silent consent to have sex.

However, he lied to Air Force investigators when they questioned him, telling them he awoke in a daze and thought the woman was his girlfriend and that he had only fondled her.

He changed his story in November when confronted with evidence that showed the woman’s DNA had been found on his boxer shorts and a swab taken from his genitals.

The jury of two officers, two chief warrant officers and three senior enlisted men deliberated for two hours Thursday night and another 90 minutes Friday before announcing their verdict.

The airman sat next to her mother, who had flown in from Massachusetts for the trial. She broke into tears as the verdict was read.

Gilbey — who at that point still faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a dishonorable discharge — showed no emotion.

During the sentencing phase, his attorney, Capt. Jennifer Spooner, asked for mercy.

Two of Gilbey’s supervisors gave glowing testimony concerning his military bearing and said he would have been given a meritorious promotion to corporal had it not been for the legal problems hanging over his head.

“He still wants to be here,” Spooner said. “He hasn’t dropped his pack. Give him the chance to continue his career in the Marine Corps.”

Gilbey told the panel he wanted to continue the family tradition of being a Marine, saying he was sorry his “lack of good judgment” made him miss out on joining his battalion in Iraq. Gilbey was on Okinawa for a six-month unit deployment when the incident occurred. He remained there on legal hold when his unit rotated back to California in June.

On Thursday, his old unit landed in Baghdad.

“I’m disappointed,” Gilbey said. “I should be with them. I apologize for lying. I apologize.”

He did not look at or apologize to the airman, who sat with her mother in the rear of the courtroom.

The airman’s mother said she was aghast at the panel’s verdict.

“My daughter is devastated by this,” she said. “She can’t stay in the military if they let people get away with something like this. I want to take her home with me when I leave.

“He lied, and they found him guilty of lying. So how could they believe him when he testified that he thought she was awake and consented to have sex with him? The government failed her.”


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