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Gazette Premium Content Defense in Air Force Academy court martial suggests woman may have OK'd sexual encounter

By Erin Prater Updated: August 13, 2013 at 10:19 am

Editor's note: The Gazette does not identify victims in sexual assault cases.

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A woman who says an Air Force Academy military policeman sexually assaulted her may have consented to a sexual encounter, then changed her story later to save her relationship with her boyfriend, a defense lawyer said in court Friday.

Both the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments Friday to a seven-member military panel at the court-martial of Senior Airman Aaron Stubbs, assigned to the academy's 10th Security Forces Squadron.

Stubbs is charged with two counts of sexual assault stemming from a Dec. 23 incident in which prosecutors allege that he forcibly removed the pants of a female airman at her on-base house and touched her genital area.

If convicted, Stubbs faces up to 20 years in confinement and a dishonorable discharge.

"He didn't know she wasn't consenting the whole time," a defense lawyer told the panel during closing arguments.

The lawyer also outlined inconsistencies in testimony the woman gave this week, at a hearing in April and during an interview with the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations earlier this year.

During closing arguments, the prosecution said the woman has no reason to lie and pointed out that Stubbs allegedly assaulted her while her children were asleep upstairs.

"She was pushed up against a 'Cars' couch made for a child with a puppy dog pillow and a Winnie the Pooh blanket there too, and she's crying," a prosecutor said.

Stubbs "finally stopped, but it was too late. The offense had been committed," he added.

A military judge presiding over the case agreed to allow the jury to consider "mistake of fact" as a defense. If Stubbs incorrectly but reasonably believed that his accuser had given consent to the sexual encounter, the panel could find him innocent, the judge told panel members during pre-deliberation instructions.

During testimony on Thursday, Stubbs' accuser said that he kissed her and attempted to take her pants off at her on-base home.

She was able to persuaded himtostop momentarily, but he continued the assault in another room, where she said he pulled her pants down and touched her genital area before giving in to her tearful pleas to stop.

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