Sunday, October 09, 2005

Wanna Join Marines? Take Off Your Clothes.

SAN DIEGO, U.S - A Ukiah teenager who said a Marine recruiter coerced her to have sex faced sharp challenges from a defense lawyer Friday.

"You're making up this whole story," Marine Capt. Craig Clark told the tearful 18-year-old during the second day of a court-martial for Staff Sgt. Joseph Dunzweiler. Dunzweiler, 25, is the last of three Marines to be prosecuted for allegedly having sex with potential recruits they met through the Ukiah, Santa Rosa and Novato recruiting offices.

They had sex in military cars, bathrooms and recruiting offices, according to testimony at the court- martial being conducted at the Marine Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Dunzweiler, who could be imprisoned and given a bad conduct discharge if he's convicted, also is charged with providing alcohol to applicants, lying to Marine investigators and asking others to lie for him.

The woman who testified Friday was 17 at the time of their alleged encounters, but Dunzweiler isn' t charged with having sex with a minor because 16 is the age of consent in the military.
All of the women have said the sex was consensual. However, the 18-year-old testified Thursday and again Friday that Dunzweiler coerced her, telling her she had to have sex with him if she wanted to become a Marine. It was a contradiction lost on the witness, but not on Clark.
"It was consensual even though you felt threatened by Sgt. Dunzweiler?" he asked.
"Yes," the woman said.

The woman, who decided not to join the Marines, acknowledged other contradictions in her statements over the course of the investigation, which became public in February. She told Ukiah police that Dunzweiler never threatened her or forced her to have sex with him, and she initially denied to Marine investigators that she'd had sex with him.

"You're lying (now) about the fact Dunzweiler ever had sex with you," Clark said. The teenager said she lied initially to protect Dunzweiler but is now telling the truth because she said what he did was wrong. Dunzweiler has denied having sex with any potential recruits or providing alcohol. Clark contends the 18-year-old and another Marine recruit with whom Dunzweiler allegedly had sex conspired with other prosecution witnesses to lie about him. He said the woman's motives include a desire for attention and a plan to sue the Marine Corps, noting she has a lawyer who has been attending the court-martial.

She denied the charges. Her lawyer, Barry Vogel of Ukiah, declined to comment. Clark said the other woman Dunzweiler allegedly had sex with wanted revenge, partly because she was obsessed with him and he'd scorned her. Clark produced cell phone statements provided by Dunzweiler indicating she sent 90 text messages to Dunzweiler, which he ignored. However, Maj. Henry Brezillac, the prosecutor, produced contradictory cell phone records that indicated Dunzweiler did respond.

She and several other women who allegedly had sex with Marines also have admitted lying to military investigators at the start of the investigation. Brezillac contends they lied at the beginning and told the truth later. He noted that none voluntarily spoke with investigators, who were tipped by a Marine who is the ex-boyfriend of one of the women.

The defense arguments are nearly identical to those used to defend Sgt. Brian Fukushima, 26, who was convicted last week by a military jury of one of three counts of having sex with potential recruits. Fukushima was demoted one rank, his pay was docked $1,000 and he was restricted to base for 30 days. A third Marine admitted guilt and was punished administratively. Dunzweiler's court-martial resumes Monday and is expected to continue through Wednesday.


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