Staff sergeant acquitted of rape in Okinawa court-martial
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — An Army staff sergeant was sentenced to 90 days’ confinement and reduced to the rank of E-5 on Tuesday after a court-martial panel found him guilty of housebreaking and adultery for having sex with a private first class.
Staff Sgt. Kelvin Stanfield, 33, assigned to the 10th Area Support Group, smiled and shook the hands of the noncommissioned officers from his unit who sat in the spectator rows to show their support. Stanfield would have faced a far different outcome had he been found guilty of all charges against him.
Earlier Tuesday, the panel of three officers and four enlisted members had found him not guilty of raping the private.
The charges stemmed from a report the 35-year-old woman made on June 4, after Stanfield crawled through the first-floor window of her barracks room on Torii Station and had sex with her. Stanfield admitted to climbing through the woman’s window the night of June 3 but said the sex that night and during another incident on May 21 was consensual.
The woman, who since has been transferred to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, said Stanfield sneaked into her room on both occasions and attacked her while she was in bed. She said she told him to stop but did not resist and was too ashamed to report the first incident.
Lead defense attorney Capt. James Culp argued the woman’s story made no sense. For example, 12 days after the first incident, the woman went to Stanfield’s room to use his computer.
“Her behavior is not consistent,” Culp said during his closing argument. “You don’t go to the room of the person who raped you to use his computer. Was that the only computer on the whole installation?”
Culp also argued that the woman’s testimony Monday was inconsistent. She said she had not danced provocatively at a party in Stanfield’s room the night of the first incident but several soldiers testified they saw her perform a split on Stanfield’s bedroom floor and one witness said he saw her rub herself suggestively with a beer bottle.
Stanfield admitted to an Army investigator that he entered the woman’s room without permission the night of June 3 after they had some drinks in his room and she used his computer. He signed a statement admitting that he had wanted to talk to her but her door was locked and he didn’t want to awake anyone in adjacent rooms by knocking too loudly.
Instead, he went to the window and climbed in, leaving a trail of mud from the windowsill to her bed. Stanfield told the investigator the talk led to sex.
That act showed his client acted stupidly, not criminally, Culp argued.
“People do stupid things when they’re drinking,” Culp said. “But that doesn’t make them criminals. It was phenomenally stupid for Staff Sgt. Stanfield to come in through that window.”
Capt. James Du Pre, the prosecutor, said Stanfield used alcohol as a “social lubricant” to lure junior enlisted personnel into his room to party with NCOs.
“He needs to be put in a place where he can’t provide alcohol to lower enlisted soldiers,” Du Pre said, asking for a sentence of two years in prison and a bad conduct discharge. “He ran party central, a place for NCOs to bring in junior enlisted women soldiers. This is not what the Army needs.”