Image: Webster Smith
Fred Beckham  /  AP file
Coast Guard Academy cadet Webster Smith pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of rape, sodomy, extortion and assault at the start of his court-martial, the first of its kind in the 130-year history of the academy.
updated 6/20/2006 7:02:04 PM ET 2006-06-20T23:02:04

A woman who claims she was raped by a fellow Coast Guard cadet testified at a court-martial Tuesday that she remembers almost nothing of that night because she drank about two bottles of wine and blacked out.

The woman, now an officer, said that it was not until the next morning that she learned that she and her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Webster Smith, had had sex.

She said Smith told her the condom had broken and recommended she seek emergency contraception, but she did not know whether to believe him. Weeks later, she got a positive result on a home pregnancy test.

“I thought that I had been date-raped,” she said under questioning by a military prosecutor.

Suspect depicted as predator
Smith, 22, of Houston, is charged with rape and other sex offenses against three women. He is the first cadet in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s 130-year history to be court-martialed.

The rape case centers on a night of heavy drinking last summer in Annapolis, Md.

“I would say I consumed definitely over a bottle of wine,” Webster’s accuser testified Tuesday, referring to 1.5-liter bottles on the defense table. “I’d say, about two bottles of wine that night.”

Testimony during pretrial hearings suggested that the woman had an abortion, but the judge refused to allow any medical records into evidence Tuesday, saying it would prejudice the jury. Jurors were told only that the woman did not carry the child to term.

Defense attorneys pointed out that her relationship with Smith continued after the alleged rape.

The woman acknowledged that the night afterward, she and Smith attended a concert with friends, then spent the night together in a hotel. She said they remained in contact last fall at the academy, and months after the alleged rape had sex again.

Defense: No evidence
Smith’s military defense lawyer, Lt. Stuart Kirkby, stressed there is no DNA, no forensic evidence, no rape kit and no crime scene photos. He said the former girlfriend “doesn’t recall anything from the moment she left the house, conveniently, until the very next morning.”

Defense attorneys maintain the young woman was not as drunk as she says and suggested Monday that she may have concocted the rape accusation to cover up her embarrassment at having sex with an on-again, off-again boyfriend.

The jury of Coast Guard officers includes four white men, one white woman, three black men and a man of Asian descent.

Smith’s attorneys, who raised the possibility that the charges could be racially motivated, said they were pleased by the jury’s diversity. Smith is black and the accusers are white.

Smith also faces charges of disobeying an order, unlawful entry and being absent without leave.

The court-martial is expected to take a week.

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