Ramstein airman gets five years after rape conviction
Stars and Stripes March 3, 2006
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — A military jury convicted a Ramstein-based airman of raping and sexually assaulting another airman after she got drunk and passed out in her apartment.
Airman Basic Brian McKay was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances, said Erin Zagursky, an Air Force spokeswoman at Ramstein.
The jury — three enlisted members and three officers — deliberated for about three hours before delivering its decision in the general court-martial. McKay, 21, a member of the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron, faced a maximum punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Although he pleaded not guilty to the charges, McKay confessed to an Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent that he and another airman raped the woman on July 24 after her going-away party at a Landstuhl bar.
In a written statement to investigators, McKay said that he and Airman 1st Class Daniel J. Wing talked about taking advantage of her after she passed out in her bed, Air Force prosecutor Maj. Robert Latrell said during his closing arguments.
“We both knew she couldn’t defend herself,” McKay wrote.
Earlier that night, the woman went with friends to the Tree Bar, a popular watering hole frequented by Americans. She testified on Tuesday that she had up to 10 drinks of Red Bull and vodka that evening.
After the bar closed around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., McKay said she invited him and Wing to her place to spend the night. At her place, the conversation turned to sex and she changed into Hooters-style short-shorts before she threw up and passed out, McKay said.
She testified that she recalls little of what happened in the next several hours.
After sitting down next to her to see if she was OK, McKay said he began to fondle her and heard her moan. He said he took off her shorts as Wing stood nearby encouraging him to have sex with her so he could watch.
“If you’re not going to do it, I will,” McKay said Wing told him.
McKay said he couldn’t because he’d had too much to drink, so he went downstairs to sleep. But when he awoke about three hours later, he went back upstairs into the woman’s room and asked her if they could have sex. He said he thought she said “yes.”
She realized she had been raped when she woke up and went to the bathroom.
McKay, who has been in the service 3½ years, said at the trial he didn’t feel like he did anything wrong until she yelled at him and Wing to get out of the apartment.
“Her not remembering anything made me think,” he said.
Although McKay said everything he wrote in his statement to investigators is accurate, his defense lawyer questioned the time the interview was conducted, which was shortly after midnight. Plus, McKay was scared, Capt. Jason Kellhofer said. If his client had written a statement prior to talking to special agents, Kellhofer said, it would have been different.
The prosecution argued, however, that McKay had also confessed to at least two other airmen.
“When you have sex with a girl who is passed out, that’s rape,” Latrell told the jury in his closing arguments Wednesday.
Wing, who also is a member of the 723rd, is scheduled to face a general court-martial on April 4. He has been charged with rape, assault and committing a threat, according to the Air Force.