Report inexact, soldier says She has accused drill sergeant of raping her

April 16, 1997|By Scott Wilson | Scott Wilson,SUN STAFF

A female soldier who says Staff Sgt. Delmar G. Simpson raped her in his office at Aberdeen Proving Ground acknowledged at a court-martial yesterday that there were inaccuracies in her sworn statements describing the August 1995 incident to Army investigators.

Under cross-examination from a defense attorney, the 21-year-old private, awaiting discharge for leaving her Texas post last year without permission, said she told investigators Simpson pulled her pants "down," not "off" as described in her signed statement.

She also said she never used anatomical terms that appear in her statement.

The soldier said she also told Army investigators that Simpson, who faces 19 rape allegations involving six female recruits, ordered her to his office when he encountered her coming from the bathroom after bed check -- not before, as investigators are expected to testify.

"Would it surprise you if [Army investigative] agents said you told them that?" Capt. Edward W. Brady asked the soldier, who a day earlier testified that Simpson pinned her down and raped her in his third-floor office.

"No. It depends who he is," answered the soldier, from Geneva, Ala., testifying on the third day of the court-martial.

"So some of the [investigative] agents tell the truth and others don't?" Brady asked.

"No. It wouldn't surprise me anything that anybody does anymore. He [Simpson] was my leader. I was supposed to trust him," replied the woman.

The Sun does not print the names of alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Discrediting Army investigators is a key component of the defense team's strategy to prove that Simpson, 32, did not commit rape.

Simpson faces 58 charges -- and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on a single rape count -- involving 22 women who once trained at the Army post. He has admitted to having consensual sex with 11 soldiers, five of whom the Army says he raped.

Twelve Aberdeen soldiers have been charged with crimes since the fall in a case that has prompted a militarywide review of sexual harassment in the ranks.

Yesterday, Army prosecutors also called an Army psychiatrist to testify about why female soldiers might not report a rape right after the crime occurs.

"If you tell, who do you tell?" said Maj. Elsbeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "Because they are all buddies. All the [sergeants] know each other. That may or may not be true. But the perception may be that all the sergeants will stand together."

Simpson's defense has implied that several of the alleged victims, one of whom waited more than a year to report her alleged rape, accused the drill sergeant to spare themselves punishment for their own misconduct -- primarily going absent without leave.

Frank J. Spinner, Simpson's civilian lawyer, who objected to Ritchie's being allowed to testify, said the Army is trying to

substitute theory for facts in a case without physical evidence linking Simpson to the alleged crimes.

"They are looking for an expert to tip the balance," he said.

Spinner also implied that the alleged victims, several of whom are from small Southern towns, might have lied about rape charges to escape punishment from parents who frown on interracial relationships.

Simpson is black, as are the other accused Aberdeen soldiers, while most of the alleged victims are white.

The Army's final witness, who has accused Simpson of trying to kiss her, said the drill sergeant asked her and her female %J roommate to have sex with him several times.

She said she was frightened of him, but later acknowledged that she giggled when her roommate put Vaseline on their doorknob to joke with Simpson during bed check and when he tossed her off her bunk onto her roommate's bed -- an incident Army prosecutors had cast as violent.

The 21-year-old private from Circleville, Ohio, said she once hid in a wall locker in Simpson's office to avoid being seen by a female trainee visiting him.

Pub Date: 4/16/97

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