Female soldier testifies that APG drill sergeant repeatedly raped her Specialist calls Simpson 'a devil with angel wings'

April 17, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

In some of the most dramatic testimony to date in the Aberdeen Proving Ground sex scandal, an Army specialist accused Sgt. Delmar G. Simpson yesterday of repeatedly raping her, calling him "a devil with angel wings."

The petite 23-year-old from Wyoming said Simpson, who is 6 feet 4, forced her to have sex in late 1995 while she was a student at the Ordnance Center and School. She said she was called to the drill sergeant's office almost daily for conversation or sex during four weeks she was confined to the base because she had not passed a physical test.

She told the military court that she was afraid to report the incidents because Simpson -- now being court-martialed on sexual misconduct charges -- was revered by colleagues and subordinates.

"He's a devil with angel wings," she said. "If something was said bad about him, he could make people believe that it wasn't true. He hides his evil side with his good side, but I've seen both sides."

Simpson, 32, is charged with 58 criminal counts -- including 19 allegations of rape involving six female soldiers at Aberdeen. He could receive life in prison if the military jury finds him guilty of a single rape charge.

His case is the largest the Army has brought against any of 12 black Aberdeen soldiers charged beginning in the fall. It prompted a militarywide investigation of sexual misconduct, and concern from civil rights groups that the investigation may be motivated by race.

The woman is the third who has said she was raped to testify this week. Army prosecutors have used them to portray Simpson as a predator, using his strength and rank to force them into sex. The Sun does not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Defense attorneys have argued that the women came forward with allegations against Simpson only to spare themselves punishment for their misconduct -- primarily going absent without leave. They also have questioned the accuracy of the accusers' statements to Army investigators.

Yesterday, the woman from Wyoming said she believed she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Simpson and described being forced to have sex with him in his office, his room, and in two other rooms at the Edgewood section of Aberdeen Proving Ground, where she lived.

Simpson has admitted having consensual sex with 11 female soldiers. Yesterday, his lawyers attempted to show that he and the woman had a relationship.

"Was that just a slip when you said that [another drill sergeant] was having the same kind of long-term relationship with a woman as yours with drill Sergeant Simpson?" Frank J. Spinner, Simpson's civilian lawyer, asked her. "Or is it that you just can't keep truth separate from fiction?"

Defense attorneys also questioned why the woman spoke of nine incidents of rape on the stand, but told criminal investigators there had been eight attacks.

Rodney Lee Phillips, 22, of Delaware, Ohio, testified that on his first day at Aberdeen he witnessed what he believed was Simpson punching the woman in a van while driving a small group of soldiers. Under cross-examination, he said the woman joined other soldiers in praising Simpson as a great drill sergeant.

"To be a drill sergeant, you have to be picked out of the best," said Phillips, who has left his reserve unit. "I respected him."

A 20-year-old specialist from Pontiac, Mich., testified that Simpson tried to place his hand down her pants on a stairwell in early 1995. She said she did not feel sexually assaulted, did not report it to her superiors and handled the incident herself.

"I told him to stop it," she said.

Another female soldier, a 26-year-old from Hawaii, testified that Simpson offered her a promotion and special treatment if she would have sex with him. She said she did not report the offer, which she declined.

During cross-examination, the woman admitted having relationships with two other drill sergeants. She said she hesitated to mention the offer by Simpson when questioned by investigators because she "didn't want to get involved."

Pub Date: 4/17/97

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