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STUTTGART, Germany — An Article 32 hearing was held Friday for a Stuttgart-based soldier accused of rape.

Spc. Clifford W. Sneed of 587th Signal Company was accused in February of forcing a German woman to have sex after she invited him into her apartment to smoke marijuana. Sneed has also been accused of wrongful use of a controlled substance.

The Article 32, similar to a civilian grand jury hearing, was held inside the Stuttgart Law Center courtroom on Kelley Barracks.

The accuser testified Friday that she told Sneed on several occasions on the morning of Feb. 24 that she did not want to have sex, but that Sneed forced himself on the intoxicated and stoned woman as she tried to push him away.

The prosecutor, Capt. Christine Connolly, argued that Sneed changed his story to investigators, and that even though he had been drinking vodka and Red Bull and smoking marijuana, he was aware that the accuser was telling him she did not want to have sex.

“There’s easily ‘reasonable grounds’ for both of these charges,” argued Connolly, referring to the level of proof required at an Article 32 hearing for a suspect to be ordered to court-martial.

Defense attorney Lance Sigmon argued that the alleged victim, with whom Sneed had a previous sexual relationship, knew that Sneed was drunk and was having problems with his girlfriend. She bought him a drink that night at a Stuttgart nightclub, Sigmon noted, and invited him to her apartment to smoke pot.

“You cannot assume that just because she was a female, she was not going after Specialist Sneed in this case,” said Sigmon, adding that the alleged victim had been spurned earlier in the evening by one of Sneed’s friends.

“You had two drunk individuals,” Sigmon said. “She set all this in motion.”

“She said ‘no’ not once but several times,” Connolly countered. “She even used her arms to push him off.”

Connolly said the investigating officer, Col. Brian Perry of the U.S. European Command, is to make a recommendation to the Army Garrison Stuttgart commander, Col. Kenneth G. Juergens, on whether Sneed should face court-martial.

Juergens would then make a recommendation to Brig. Gen. Scott West, commander of the 21st Theater Support Command, who would in turn decide whether Sneed goes to trial.

Connolly said a decision could come in about two weeks.


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