Men who say they were drugged and raped by an Air Force officer lied to avoid being revealed as gay in the military, a defense attorney told a military jury Tuesday.
Capt. Devery L. Taylor, former chief of patient administration at Eglin Regional Hospital, is gay and engaged in consensual sex with the men, his civilian attorney, Martin Regan, said during opening arguments in Taylor's court-martial.
Taylor, 38, pleaded not guilty Monday to raping four men and attempting to rape two others; prosecutor Capt. Eveylon Westbrook describes him as a serial rapist. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of all the charges against him. The charges are two counts of attempted sodomy, four counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of kidnapping and one count of unlawful entry.
"This case is about homosexual activity that is not approved of by the military services in our country at this time. Every one of these individuals but one is either in the military service or wants to be in the service," Regan said.
Under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, members who are openly gay are subject to discharge.
Westbrook said Taylor met his victims in bars, spiked their drinks with the "date-rape drug" gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, and kidnapped them.
"Each victim will tell you they felt like they were drugged before he either assaulted or attempted to assault them," she said.
'My brain knew what was going on'
A Pensacola paramedic later testified that he and Taylor were friends and had consensual sex on a previous occasion before the two met again at a bar in July 2004. The man said that he had one beer and that Taylor then bought him a shot, which caused him to become extremely ill.
He said that he woke up in Taylor's home and that Taylor raped him repeatedly, but that he couldn't fight Taylor because he felt drugged.
"My brain knew what was going on, but my body just wouldn't cooperate," he said.
The man said he did not report the encounter to authorities until two years later, when he read a newspaper report about Taylor's arrest.
An Air Force lieutenant who worked with Taylor at the base hospital testified about his 2004 encounter with Taylor. He said he blacked out and does not know whether he was raped. The lieutenant, who is married, said he never had consensual sex with Taylor.
Col. Thomas Cumbie, the military judge, turned down a defense request Tuesday to limit testimony about GHB. Defense attorneys said that its effects were similar to that of alcohol and that none of the victims had traces of the drug in their bodies, but Cumbie said the symptoms were common among all the victims.