U.S. trial begins for two British soldiers

A woman testified Monday that two British soldiers raped her and that one of the men urinated on her one night in July after the soldiers had sneaked away from Camp Guernsey, a Wyoming National Guard base where they were stationed for a training mission.

Andrew P. Leighton, of Leeds, England, and Scott Aitken, of Edinburgh, Scotland, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree sexual assault; Aitken also pleaded not guilty to an additional battery charge for the alleged urination. Their attorneys said the sex was consensual and that the woman simply got upset when Aitken urinated on her.

If convicted, the men could be sentenced to between five years and 50 years in prison. The 26-year-old woman of Guernsey, Michigan, 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. It is AP policy not to identify alleged victims in sexual assault cases.

On the night of July 26, the woman 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.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Dan Blythe acknowledged that Aitken urinated on the woman, but said the sex was consensual. Leighton and Aitken have been held on F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Camp Guernsey. It was unclear whether they would testify Tuesday when the trial was to resume, AP reports.

A. A.

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