CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The court-martial of a Marine accused of raping another Marine in a Camp Hansen barracks Thanksgiving Day got under way Thursday.
Lance Cpl. Manassas Paige, 21, assigned to the 12th Marine Regiment, faces a maximum life sentence in prison if convicted.
Paige is accused of raping a 19-year-old lance corporal who had passed out drunk on her cot after a day of heavy drinking and playing video games in her room. The prosecution contends he purposefully plied her with alcohol after learning she was under restriction to base for underage drinking and had a history of abusing alcohol.
A roommate walked in on the act and called military police.
“Get her drunk. Have your way,” Capt. Josh Rosen said in the prosecution’s opening statement. “There was no prior relationship. It was just come hell or high water he was going to have sex that night.”
Defense lawyer Capt. J.A. Media acknowledged Paige and the woman both had a lot to drink but said the sexual contact was “consensual.”
The woman testified she had no memory of what happened that night. She said she has an alcohol problem and had been a heavy drinker since she was 11. She did not know Paige, she said, but allowed him into her room when he came asking about her roommate the afternoon of Nov. 25.
Sometime during the visit “the idea of getting some alcohol came up and I was all about it,” she said.
“Did you ever give your consent to have sex?” Rosen asked.
“No sir,” she said.
“Do you remember having sex?”
“No sir,” she answered. She said she had blacked out and remembered nothing about the evening until she awoke in the hospital on Camp Lester.
A medical report showed the woman had a blood alcohol content of 0.293 percent.
A doctor testified that someone with a BAC that high would be considered “consistent with moderate to severe intoxication.” In Japan, for comparison, a motorist is considered to be impaired with a BAC of 0.03 percent; the cutoff is 0.08 percent in most U.S. states.
The woman had two roommates. One testified that she sat by herself playing video games while Paige and the alleged victim played “Quarters,” where a person has to chug down a drink if they miss flipping a quarter into a shot glass.
The second roommate said she caught Paige in her room earlier in the evening and told him to leave. She left to visit a friend across the hall, then returned five minutes later and found Paige on top of her roommate.
She sobbed as she described the scene.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I told him to please get off her and he kept on going, saying, ‘It’s cool, she wants it. She’s into it.’
“But she was just helpless, in very bad shape, her eyes rolled up in the back of her head,” she said. “She was just lying there, limp, like a rag doll.”
During the testimony, Paige sat silently, hands folded in front of him, displaying no emotion.
A panel of two officers, two warrant officers and three senior enlisted men were expected to begin deliberations on the evidence Friday.