U.S. soldier in Korea convicted of raping friend’s wife
Stars and Stripes August 27, 2006
CAMP HENRY, South Korea — A U.S. soldier was sentenced to five months’ confinement Friday after being convicted in a court-martial of raping a close friend’s wife.
Pfc. Jason R. Warder, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, was allowed to continue his five-year career in the Army after admitting in court that a platonic relationship with the wife of one of his friends turned into a sexual relationship earlier this year.
One night when both he and the woman were drunk, he forced her to have sex, according to Warder’s statements in court.
“I thought she was playing hard to get,” Warder told Col. Gregory Gross, chief judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit. “I should have realized she wasn’t.”
Gross questioned Warder for more than 30 minutes before accepting his guilty pleas on one count each of adultery and rape. At one point, defense lawyer Capt. Patrick Davis asked the judge to further establish that Warder had forced the woman to have sex, an element necessary when finding a person guilty of rape.
On April 23, Warder and the woman were on Camp Walker after a night of drinking, Warder told the judge. The woman told Warder she was “not in the mood,” Warder said. He stopped pressing her for sex but then “regrouped and tried another strategy,” Warder said early in his statements.
After repeated questioning, Warder told the court that the woman tried to physically resist his attempts to have sex. But as the night went on, the soldier testified, the woman neither consented to sex nor asked Warder to stop.
“Are you convinced she never consented to the sex?” Gross asked.
“Yes, sir,” Warder replied.
Warder faced a maximum of life in confinement without parole and dishonorable discharge from the military. Shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, Gross sentenced him to five months’ confinement, five months’ forfeiture of $849 monthly pay and reduction to the Army’s lowest rank, E-1.
A plea agreement in Warder’s case had called for him to serve a maximum of 18 months had the judge handed down a harsher penalty. Instead, Warder will serve just the five months of confinement.
Warder broke down in tears as he heard from current friends offering support during his sentencing. He cried again when he offered apologies to his former friend, that man’s wife and other people involved in the affair.
“They trusted me with everything and I betrayed that trust,” he said.
Before handing down the sentence, Gross also inquired about Warder’s past deployments. Warder served for six months in Afghanistan in 2002 and in Iraq in 2004. He took three bullets to his flak jacket but wasn’t wounded, Warder told the judge.