Saturday, June 24, 2006

Phillipina Raped By Four US Marines

A stepsister of a 22-year-old Filipina allegedly raped by four US marines testified Friday that the complainant had appeared drunk as she partied with one of the suspects before the alleged assault.

Anna Lisa Franco testified that her half-sister "Nicole" could not stand up straight after consuming several rounds of alcoholic drinks, including half a pitcher of a concoction called a "bullfrog," while being cheered on by three US servicemen.

The rape allegedly occurred in a van after one of the four accused carried the complainant out of a bar after a night of partying at the former US naval base of Subic Bay on Nov. 1, 2005.

The complainant said she and her stepsister had been invited to Subic Bay by another US serviceman who had paid their hotel bills and given them cash to go shopping, visit the zoo and gamble at a casino.

Chad Carpentier, Dominic Duplantis, Daniel Smith and Keith Silkwood have each pleaded not guilty to a charge of rape. If convicted, they face up to 40 years in jail.

Before the trial, they told US investigators that one of them had consensual sex with the woman. Prosecutors said consent is absent if the victim is drunk.

Franco said she saw her stepsister dancing with Smith, who she identified in court by tapping his shoulder, after the complainant had been drinking alcohol.
"They danced for about 10 to 15 minutes," the witness added.

On Tuesday US navyman Christopher James Mills testified that he invited the two women to Subic Bay after meeting them at their mother's restaurant in Zamboanga.

He met the two women again at Subic in late October when his ship, the USNS Stockholm, was on a stopover.

Mills said he and Franco found the alleged victim in a hospital a few hours after the drinking and dancing session. He told the court the woman said she could not remember what had happened to her.

On Thursday’s hearing an investigator from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority's Intelligence and Investigation Office said a police report found no semen on the condom allegedly used in the crime.

During his cross examination, Ramon Paje testified that a police crime laboratory report showed no semen stains on the condom and underwear recovered from the complainant. The report was submitted before the court.

Defense lawyers said Paje’s testimony bolstered their claim that no sexual contact took place between the complainant and Smith.

Private prosecutor Evalyn Ursua, however, said ejaculation is not necessary for rape to be committed. She said slightest penetration is already considered “consummated rape.”

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