Schweinfurt GI acquitted of rape charges
December 21, 2002
WüRZBURG, Germany — A 1st Infantry Division soldier was cleared Friday of charges he helped a fellow soldier in an alleged barracks rape.
A court-martial panel found Spc. Elijah McCray, 21, not guilty on charges of rape, attempted rape and conspiracy to commit rape. McCray, however, was found guilty of dereliction of duty, unlawful entry and an indecent act.
Early in the morning of March 30, McCray was serving as the assistant charge of quarters in Building 207 at Conn Barracks in Schweinfurt, where he lives with other soldiers from Company B of the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment.
Shortly before 2 a.m., Spc. David Malone came home with his girlfriend, a private first class who had arrived at the base just three weeks earlier. Both had been drinking that night, and he had a pass allowing her to spend the night.
Malone passed out shortly after they returned home, but another soldier, Sgt. Christopher Streeter, stopped by and chatted with the woman for about 20 minutes. The woman told authorities the next morning that she had passed out in Malone’s room, but later woke up down the hall in Streeter’s room with him on top of her. She said she believed he was having sex with her but was too drunk to move or resist and passed out again.
Still later, she said, she woke up again and found another man — later determined to be McCray — in bed behind her with his BDU pants down and touching her sexually.
“I got up and started cursing,” the woman testified. “I asked who it was, where my clothes were, how I got there.”
The woman and her boyfriend reported the incident to the CQ, Sgt. Matthew Jones, who had been in the latrine, sick, and had left McCray in charge. She was examined at the hospital, where she was interviewed by Army Criminal Investigation Command agents.
McCray told CID agents that he had been the assistant CQ that night, in charge of the master key card that opened all the doors on the floor. He said he had given it to Streeter, so the sergeant could get the woman and carry her back to his room for sex.
Afterward, Streeter invited McCray to have sex with the woman, too, McCray later told CID agents. He said he had pulled down his pants but had changed his mind.
Prosecutors argued that Streeter — who is scheduled for court-martial in January — and McCray had conspired to break into Malone’s room, snatch the unconscious woman and rape her. They said McCray was equally responsible for Streeter’s alleged crimes because he had given him the key card, which itself was a dereliction of his duty.
“[McCray] took advantage of this drunk, defenseless young woman,” said prosecutor Capt. Jerry Dunlap.
But McCray’s civilian defense attorney, David Court, said there was no rape and no conspiracy. Malone’s roommate, Private 1st Class Brendan Yarbrough, testified that he had woke up as Streeter was carrying the woman from the room.
“I asked her where she was going, and she said to Sgt. Streeter’s room,” Yarbrough said. “I asked her if she was OK and she said, yes, she was fine.”
The girl testified that she had a history of alcoholic blackouts and had no specific memory of having sex with McCray or Streeter.
Court also said that, while McCray showed poor judgment in giving Streeter the key card, it didn’t violate any Army regulations. He said McCray may have felt intimidated by Streeter, who outranked him.
“You may not be happy that the accused handed out the card key to Sgt. Streeter,” Court said, “but there’s no evidence that it was an illegal act.”
The jurors found that McCray had committed an indecent act with the woman, had unlawfully entered her boyfriend’s room and had been negligent in his duties for giving up the key card.
He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, reduced in rank to E-1, and ordered to forfeit $500 pay a month for during his sentence. He will not receive a punitive discharge.