Azores – US military acquitted rape and attempted murder

The US military at the Lajes base in the Azores, which was charged with attempted murder, rape, physical assault and kidnapping, was acquitted of all crimes on Friday.

“Since it has not been proven that he committed the crimes, he will be acquitted,” the judge said at the Angra do Heroísmo court in Terceira Island, in a reading of the ruling.

According to the judge, “the court failed to prove all the facts,” although the expert opinion confirmed some of the facts described by the accused.

The judicial magistrate also said that some “incongruities” were detected in the version of the alleged victim, who was an assistant in the process, but it was not possible to prove the accusations in any of the crimes.

The woman accused the US military, who was finishing a service commission at the Lajes base, of raping her and assaulting her, in an isolated place, after having he accepted her as a hitchhiker in his vehicle at dawn of 01 November 2016, in Praia da Vitória.

According to the communiqué issued by the Judiciary Police at the time, she said that the defendant later took her to another place near the coast, where she was raped, beaten with a  weapon and tried to kill by drowning.

The Coordination of the Public Ministry of the Region of the Azores informed that the alleged victim, an employee at the base of Lajes and who knew the defendant, was able to free herself from him and fled to the sea, swimming until she did not see him She returned to shore and after sometime was able to get help from a passer-by who took her to hospital.

At the trial, the accused stated that the sexual relations were consented and it was the alleged victim who tried to attack him, which led him to immobilize her and expel her from his vehicle.

The defendant was in custody until the last session of the trial, on the 12th, having been placed under house arrest and now released.


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