British soldiers charged with rape: prosecution completes

A British soldier, one of two accused of raping a Wyoming woman, testified Tuesday that sex between the soldiers and the woman was consensual. The two soldiers had sneaked away from Camp Guernsey, a Wyoming National Guard base where they were stationed for a training mission.

Andrew P. Leighton, 28, of Leeds, England, said the woman had initiated sex, first kissing Scott Aitken, 22, of Edinburgh, Scotland, then kissing Leighton, then performing oral sex on Aitken. Leighton testified that Aitken motioned for him to come over, and he did, caressing the woman before having intercourse with her. "I was just making sure this was what she wanted happening," Leighton said.

Leighton and Aitken are charged with first-degree sexual assault; Aitken also is charged with battery for allegedly urinating on the 26-year-old woman. It is AP policy not to identify alleged victims in sexual assault cases. If convicted, the men could be sentenced to between five years and 50 years in prison.

Defense attorneys have said the woman consented to sex, but got upset when Aitken urinated on her. Leighton said he, too, was disgusted when Aitken urinated on the woman. "I wasn't happy about it," he said. "I pulled myself away from what was happening and I pulled my pants up."

Prosecutors wrapped up Tuesday morning by calling several witnesses who saw the woman early July 27, shortly after the alleged attack.

Donna Dodge Otero, a friend of the woman, said the woman called her about 3 a.m. asking for help. "She was shivering, she was distraught, she was white as a ghost, she was crying," Otero testified. Otero called police.

Two police officers testified that the woman was at first reluctant to talk. "You could tell on her face that she was real scared," officer Deanne Gardner said. Gardner also testified she saw bruising on the woman's back, neck, buttocks, foot, leg and forearm, though she acknowledged that not all of the bruises showed up in photographs she took of the woman.

Officer Steve Steiner testified he did not see any marks on Aitken or Leighton even though he had overheard the woman tell Gardner that she had bitten both men.

A state forensic scientist testified there didn't appear to be any damage to the clothing of either the men or the woman, other than what appeared to be soil stains on the woman's shirt.

The woman has acknowledged having begun a relationship with Aitken the week before and said she had had consensual sex with him a few days before the alleged rape. On the night of July 26, the woman has testified, she met the soldiers at a local bar after they sneaked away from the base. The three went back to her house so the men wouldn't be seen by their officers, who were in the bar.

When they reached her back yard, she said, she kissed Aitken, who asked if she wanted to have a threesome. She testified that she said no, but that they forced themselves on her, simultaneously raping her on a lounge chair behind the home.

Leighton and Aitken have been held on F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Camp Guernsey, reported AP. P.T.

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