Support our mission
 

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An airman accused of being a “sexual predator” has pleaded not guilty to charges he raped two female airmen while they were intoxicated and asleep in their dorm rooms at Osan Air Base.

Senior Airman Burnette Prince Jr. of Osan’s 51st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is being court-martialed on two counts of rape in a trial expected to last several days.

Lawyers made their opening arguments Tuesday morning before a six-member jury and Air Force Col. Ron Gregory, chief circuit military judge for the Western Circuit, based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

One alleged rape occurred the night of April 20 to 21, the other in October 2005.

The two women had become friends while stationed at Osan Air Base. Prince was acquainted with both, according to Tuesday’s proceedings.

Prosecutor Capt. Ryan Hendricks told jurors Prince was a “sexual predator” who used the same method in both alleged rapes.

“He preyed on those who were incapacitated,” Hendricks said during the prosecution’s opening argument. “Incapacitated in that they were intoxicated and asleep” and “unable to consent” to sexual intercourse.

In making the defense’s opening argument, Capt. Elizabeth M.D. Pullin told jurors the prosecution’s case did not add up.

“There are assumptions made in this case and they’re based on emotions,” Pullin said.

In the alleged April incident, the woman was ready to return to her dorm room after a night of heavy drinking at the base’s Mustang Club, according to testimony. The woman testified Tuesday she drank “eight to 10” White Russians and three or four “shots.”

Later, outside the Mustang Club she encountered Prince and he suggested she take the base shuttle bus to her dorm, she testified.

“He asked if he could make sure I made it home safely,” she said.

Once the woman and Prince were in her room, she changed into a nightgown and got into bed, she said.

She testified she woke up several times and found him fondling her, and each time she moved away from him the touching stopped.

Later, around 4 a.m., she awakened and discovered that she was no longer wearing underwear, though she had been when she’d gone to bed.

In addition, she testified, she felt physical discomfort “like someone had had sex with me.” Hendricks told the jury that during the trial they would be provided DNA and other evidence to support the prosecution’s charges.

Under cross-examination by Pullin, the woman testified she did not struggle with Prince. And she testified she had no recollection of what happened at certain points during the time period preceding and during the alleged intercourse.

As many as 15 or more witnesses, including the woman in the alleged October 2005 rape, may be called to testify during the trial.

A conviction for rape carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole, reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.

Co-prosecuting the case Tuesday was Capt. Dan Vaillant. Co-defense counsel was Capt. Deanna Daly.

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up