A Petty Officer Third Class for the U.S. Coast Guard took to the witness stand Tuesday to testify against the Coast Guard member accused of raping her last January in Valdez.
The E-4 food services specialist, who was stationed in Valdez at the time, said under oath that the night of Jan. 3, 2011, began as a belated New Year Celebration for herself and a female co-worker since they worked over the holiday. Prosecutors say it ended with her being sexually attacked on the bathroom floor of a local bar, groped during the one-mile walk home down an icy Valdez road, then attacked again on the stairwell of her apartment.
Defense attorneys for Fireman Roque E. Trevino, 23, say the sexual encounters were consensual, and that the alleged victim is lying to avoid “shame, regret, embarrassment” and to avoid damaging her reputation and career, both common defenses in military sexual assault cases.
Trevino was then stationed on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Long Island and is now an E-3 who works in the engineering department for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. He is charged with violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for two specifications of aggravated sexual assault and one specification of abusive sexual contact.
If convicted, Trevino could be facing a maximum sentence of 30 years each for the aggravated sexual assault, and a 7 year maximum sentence for the abusive sexual contact. That’s a maximum possible penalty of 67 years.
The court-martial — which is comprised of five officers and three enlisted Coast Guard members who serve as jurors, in layman’s terms — began Monday in the U.S. Federal Building in Juneau. Captain Michael E. Tousley is presiding over the proceedings.
On Tuesday, the alleged victim testified she had consumed alcohol during the evening and remembered little of the incident. She said she knew Trevino from Coast Guard Survival School, and that she met him briefly once at a bar before the January 2011 instance. She reported the incident a few days later to a superior officer, who questioned why she wanted the phone number for a counselor service provided by the Coast Guard.
Much of the prosecution’s case hinges on eyewitness accounts from the woman’s two co-workers in her social group that night since they interrupted the sexual encounters, as well as Coast Guard Investigative Service interviews with Trevino.
During opening arguments Tuesday, prosecutor Lieutenant Commander Tamara Wallen said Trevino watched the woman drunkenly fall off her bar stool, and he helped her to the bathroom, where the first alleged attack took place. He later walked home with her and the two others, and allegedly attacked her again while the two others were outside. The co-workers rushed inside her apartment when they heard a commotion, they testified.
Defense attorney Lt. Sarah Dorsett argued the woman beckoned for Trevino to join her in the bathroom and was “caught” having sex by her friends.
Of the six witnesses called to the stand Tuesday was Gregory Scott Moore, a CGIS special agent who interviewed Trevino for about an hour and a half at a CGIS office in Bellingham in February 2011.
Moore testified that during the February interview, Trevino confirmed there was sexual intercourse and agreed the woman was too intoxicated to have sex, and that if someone he cared about was in her shoes, he would be upset. Moore said Trevino ignored her initial pleas to stop.
The prosecution has only one more witness to call before the defense can present their case and call their witnesses. Proceedings will continue Wednesday morning, and they are expected to last until the end of the week.
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