|US Marines Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, one of the four US Marines accused of raping a Filipino woman walks down the stairs after the court hearing Thursday, Junly 6, 2006 in Manila's financial district of Makati. The alleged rape victim given the name Nicole by the court to protect her identified Smith as the one who allegedly raped her. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)|
Filipino woman IDs Marine in rape trial
MANILA, Philippines --A Filipino woman broke down in tears on the witness stand Thursday as she identified the U.S. Marine who allegedly raped her.
The 22-year-old woman alleged she was attacked Nov. 1 by Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith as Lance Cpl. Keith Silkwood, Lance Cpl. Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sgt. Chad Carpentier cheered him on.
The Marines have refused to answer the rape charges, punishable by up to 40 years in prison, prompting the judge to enter an innocent plea for them. Defense lawyers insist Smith had consensual sex with the woman.
Testifying at her six-week trial, the woman said she managed a canteen in the military's Southern Command, where she met U.S. soldiers in the country for counterterrorism training in southern Zamboanga city.
She told the court she was already intoxicated at a bar at the Subic Bay freeport, a former U.S. naval base, when Smith grabbed her by the wrist to dance.
Scared because she didn't know who Smith was, she turned to a U.S. Navy man, a family friend from Zamboanga, who said it was OK to dance with the Marine while telling Smith, "Just take care of her."
She continued to drink and then testified that she was forced out of the bar.
"The next thing I remember, someone was lying on top of me," she said. "Someone was kissing me. ... It was Smith." She began crying, prompting the judge to adjourn the session until Friday.
Several witnesses have testified the woman was seen being carried out of a bar on Smith's back into a van. Other witnesses said they later saw the Marines take the half-naked woman out of the van and leave her on a sidewalk.
Dr. Rolando Ortiz II of the James Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo city, west of Manila, earlier testified that the accuser suffered bruises on her arms, legs and genital area that were consistent with a sexual assault.
About 60 women protested outside court, using sticks to beat posters of the four defendants stamped with the words, "Jail the yankees."
The case sparked other anti-American protests in the former U.S. colony and is seen as a black mark on exercises credited with helping weaken al-Qaida-linked militants in the country's restive south.
Carpentier, who together with the other Marines has been confined to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, told a Philippine TV station in a rare interview that the woman was being manipulated to accuse the servicemen.
"She's a victim but not a victim of us, she's a victim of some of the people surrounding her," he told GMA television, without elaborating.
"We're human. We're not, you know, the monsters that we're made out to be," he said.
The embassy, which has custody of the men under a treaty with the Philippine government, hasn't released their ages or hometowns. Under the treaty, the proceedings must conclude in one year.
The men were part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Force stationed in Okinawa, Japan.