Marines on Trial for Raping Filipino Woman

It happened back in November in the Philippines. A woman, called by the pseudonym “Nicole,” was allegedly raped by four U.S. Marines. The trial for this incident is now six weeks long, and Nicole has taken the stand. The defendants are Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, Lance Cpl. Dominic Duplantis, Lance Cpl. Keith Silkwood and Staff Sgt. Chad Carpentier. It is alleged that Smith raped Nicole while the other three U.S. Marines watched and cheered.

The events that led up to the alleged rape started back in November. One night the 22-year-old Nicole was drinking with the four U.S. Marines. According to eye witnesses, Nicole was eventually carried out of the bar on the back of Smith. Later, according to witnesses, the Marines took Nicole’s half-naked body out of their van and dumped her on the sidewalk—like garbage. According to Dr. Rolando Ortiz II, Nicole had bruises on her arms, legs and genital area, which were consistent with sexual assault.

Nicole’s stepsister also testified that a Filipino man offered them money not to pursue the case. The man did not state whom he represented. Even though the Marines are confined to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, they still managed to get on TV. Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier told a Philippine TV station that Nicole was “being manipulated to accuse the servicemen.” He also said that “she’s a victim, but not a victim of us, she’s a victim of some of the people surrounding her.”

Currently the U.S. embassy has custody of the Marines. As part of the treaty, the men must be tried—and proceedings concluded—within on year. Apparently, the ages and hometowns of the men in question have not yet been released. What is known is this. The men were part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Force that was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. While the case fueled anti-American protests, these protests are nothing new for the area.

It’s been reported that Nicole broke down in tears when she took the stand. In fact, the judge ordered a break—she was not even up to the rape part of the testimony. It’s worth noting that the Marines did not enter a plea. They remained silent. As such, the judge was forced to enter a plea of innocence on their behalf. Apparently, the charge carries a prison sentence of up to 40 years.

The defense is not denying that Nicole and Smith had sex, rather they are claiming that it was consensual. This still does not explain the eye witness testimony of the Marines dumping her half-naked body on the sidewalk. The defendants were in the county for counterterrorism training. If found guilty, they will be in the Philippines for an extended stay.

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