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Pacific edition, Friday, September 28, 2007

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Her husband choked her to unconsciousness in 2002, when she was seven months pregnant, because he thought she didn’t look like an officer’s wife should, testified the wife of a Marine captain accused of raping her last year.

Her testimony came on the second day of his trial at Camp Foster.

The captain also stands accused of assaulting his wife, threatening to sexually assault her and threatening to kill her if she tried to leave the island with his child, according to court records. In addition he was charged with violating a military protective order to not see his wife except to talk to his children or discuss financial matters, and with obstruction of justice.

The captain, who worked as a plans officer at Marine Headquarters Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, later took the stand Wednesday and denied physically hurting his wife.

During opening remarks, prosecutor Capt. Andrew Beckwith graphically described the alleged rape. He said the accused was a “consummate professional at work, but very different at home.”

This case isn’t about rape, civilian defense lawyer Sharon Frisson told the jury. It’s about a wife who wanted out of a marriage because of two difficult teenage stepchildren, and she wanted to take her child with her.

The wife testified that while she had difficulties with the oldest stepchild, who is 15, she went to Family Advocacy and eventually the Naval Criminal Investigative Service because her husband raped her Oct. 19 last year, and she was afraid the situation would get worse.

She said that the day before the alleged rape, the captain moved like he was going to throw hot coffee at her during an argument.

She told the court her husband used sex as “his stress relief.” She said that on the day of the alleged rape, he came home for lunch and began asking her for sex.

She finally agreed, she said, but told the court that her husband forced her into a painful position, and despite her cries for him to stop, he continued.

She said she didn’t report the incident until eight days later because her husband told her that Marine officers stick together, and she was afraid no one would believe her.

The captain said the sex that day was consensual, and his wife never said no. She also never told him that she felt she had been raped, he said, and they slept in the same bed until her allegation.

He said he didn’t understand the importance of the written statement he made to investigators because he “was blindsided” by the rape allegation.

According to court documents, the statement includes passages that read, “I was morally wrong; I should have stopped,” and “I am sorry for having sex with you against your will.”

The captain testified he initialed the beginning and end of each paragraph and signed the statement, but didn’t read it thoroughly.

A final witness was to testify Thursday, after which the jury was to begin deliberating.

Stars and Stripes is not naming the captain because it would identify the victim in an alleged sex crime.


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