Marine who claimed rape found guilty of obstructing justice, attempted adultery

Marine faces jail time, dishonorable discharge

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A Camp Pendleton Marine who claims she was raped is expected to be sentenced Thursday after she was found guilty in military court of obstructing justice and attempted adultery.

The woman, a staff sergeant assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39 at Camp Pendleton, was convicted Wednesday by a military judge who did not explain his reasoning. She could receive a year in the brig, reduction of rank to private, loss of pay and dishonorable discharge.

The woman, whose name was being withheld, and another Marine both said they had sex in a hotel room last year. But the woman said she was too drunk to consent, a statement prosecutors regarded as false. The other Marine said he didn't know she was married and didn't appear overly intoxicated.  He was not charged in the case.

The woman's husband reported the encounter to his wife's commanders. Testimony indicated the incident was initially going to be handled through a non-judicial punishment system in which a Marine faces a senior officer and punishment can be limited to potential loss of pay and a demotion.

A decision was eventually made to have the case taken to a former court martial after it was learned the woman had lied about never seeing her partner after the hotel encounter to get their stories straight, prosecutors said.

"By whatever means necessary, (she) was going to save her skin. When backed into a corner, she played the ultimate trump card by claiming sexual assault," prosecutor Maj. Doug Hatch said in closing arguments.

The woman's defense counsel, Capt. Rafiel Warfield, conceded that his client lied about going to the hotel with the Marine but maintained she was raped. "It was not consensual. It wasn't romantic. It wasn't an affair. It was rape," Warfield said.

The military judge, Lt. Col. Leon Francis, found the Marine wasn't guilty of adultery but was guilty of attempted adultery because she checked into the hotel room.

The woman didn't testify during the three-day trial.

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