Soldier gets 12 years in rape of Nuremberg college student
January 15, 2004
VILSECK, Germany — Spc. John M. Blow, the second of three soldiers to be tried for sexually assaulting a college student from Nuremberg, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years of confinement for rape, forcible sodomy and a number of other charges not related to the April 12 rape.
The sentence also included: forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.
Blow, who elected to be tried by judge alone, began removing his tie after the judge, Lt. Col. Robin Hall, read and explained her verdict Tuesday evening.
The defense requested a recess and, along with a military police guard, began to escort Blow from the courtroom.
As Blow, 25, exited the courtroom, he unbuttoned the jacket of his Class-A uniform, ripped open his shirt and said: “They can have this [expletive].”
Prosecutor Capt. Dan Stigall had requested a military policeman be present in the courtroom for Blow’s trial, the first time he had made such a request, he said.
“The move was definitely warranted,” he said after the outburst by Blow, who was assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, based at Hohenfels.
Blow was returned to the courtroom with his ankles shackled and sat at the defense table while the attorneys met with the judge in her chambers.
During that time, Blow made comments to his former first sergeant, who still sat in the witness chair, and made comments about the “performances” by Stigall and the victim during the trial.
He was again escorted from the courtroom. Hall, who commented on Blow’s exemplary behavior during the trial, was reluctant to proceed with the sentencing phase without Blow present, and she and the defense agreed to postpone sentencing until Wednesday morning. Blow was present Wednesday, with no further outbursts.
The rape and forcible sodomy charges stemmed from an incident in which Blow brought the 19-year-old college student he met at a nightclub in Regensburg back to his barracks room. The two had consensual sex in Blow’s room, the victim testified, but she was then taken to the room of one of Blow’s friends, where she said she was raped by one soldier while forced to perform oral sex on another as Blow watched.
Later, she said, Blow led her out of that room while she was naked and back into his room. She testified that Blow slapped her and then raped her in his room.
When someone knocked at the door and interrupted, Blow left the room and she jumped out the window of the second-floor barracks room to escape, breaking two vertebrae in her back and spraining her ankle.
The defense attorney, Capt. Rob Stelle, maintained throughout the court-martial that Blow didn’t believe the victim had been raped in his friend’s room.
The defense showed two police reports the victim filed after the rape in which she did not tell German police that she had consensual sex with Blow. Only in the third interview with German police did she divulge all of the details.
During Stelle’s redirect, the victim admitted not resisting during the rape, and that she never asked for help.
“I didn’t resist because I didn’t know what they would do to me,” she testified.
Blow also was charged with counts of failure to appear at his designated place of duty, disobeying a lawful order, impersonating a noncommissioned officer, disrespect of an NCO and commissioned officer, two counts of assault, indecent exposure, communicating a threat, disorderly conduct and attempted wrongful appropriation of a set of keys belonging to a military police vehicle.
The incidents for which he was charged date from May 2002 to as recent as Oct. 9, while he was confined at the Mannheim correctional facility.
Blow pleaded guilty to nearly all of the lesser charges but not guilty to the assault, rape and forcible sodomy charges.
On Dec. 22, Pfc. Derick D. Williams was sentenced to 10 years of confinement for an indecent act involving the student and several other charges. Williams pleaded guilty and his sentence was reduced to no more than 61 months because of a plea agreement.
The third soldier charged in the sexual assault goes to court-martial Thursday in Vilseck. He has selected trial by panel.