Soldier sentenced to two years in Yongsan rape case
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A soldier was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges he raped and committed adultery with a married female airman.
During his court-martial in the Yongsan Garrison courtroom on Wednesday, Pfc. Wesshonte L. Taylor, 21, of the 8th Army’s G6 communications and electronics section, said he forced himself upon the female airman despite her objections.
Taylor also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of disobeying an order to not leave post following his arrest.
Under the sentence military Judge Lt. Col. Gregory Gross imposed, Taylor also will forfeit all pay and be reduced in rank to E-1 before receiving a bad-conduct discharge.
Taylor met the victim at the Army Community Services building during newcomer orientation this year. After going to the post exchange together, they agreed to meet again at the Dragon Hill Lodge that night.
“She told me that she did not want me to kiss her, but I did,” Taylor said. “She seemed upset. I apologized for it and went on with our conversation.”
Soon after, Taylor said he began taking her clothes off and having sex with her despite her protests.
The two then took a taxi back to Camp Coiner, where he apologized. The woman told her sergeant about the rape and then called her husband, an airman who was preparing to deploy from the United States to the Middle East.
Prosecutor Capt. James Leary asked the woman questions regarding why she will not eat, shop or partake in any recreation on post.
“Because I don’t want to see Private Taylor,” she said. “Because every time I see him I have a breakdown and I start crying.”
The woman said she attends group therapy to deal with the rape, but still cannot sleep well and has nightmares. She said she planned to make the Air Force a career but now wants to leave as soon as she fulfills her contract.
Unit victim advocate Sgt. 1st Class Debra Bayless, who talks to the woman three times per week, said the victim has been especially scarred by the rape.
“I know for a fact that she’s terrified,” Bayless said. “She’s scared to go anywhere alone. I’ve never seen anyone stay in their room and not go anywhere.”
During the sentencing phase, Taylor read an unsworn statement expressing remorse and asking for leniency. Twice while reading, Taylor paused to bury his face in his hands and sob uncontrollably.
“Ever since that night, I have been unable to sleep thinking about how I could have done such a horrible thing,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s mother, a minister and retired soldier, said during testimony via telephone that she would morally support her son and continue to pray for both him and the woman.
She also said that when Taylor was much younger, she told him about her experience of being raped as a child.