Defense witnesses testify in Coast Guardsman's court martial for rape
Phone records show accuser called Coast Guardsman days after alleged rape
MIAMI – A former supervisor and a former coworker of a U.S. Coast Guard petty officer said at his court-martial for rape Tuesday that he was efficient at his job. The two worked with him closely on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Key Biscayne, a patrol boat tasked with protecting the Florida Straits.
The testimony by a chief machinery technician and a petty officer 2nd class was apparently intended by the defense as evidence of Sheldon Bond's character. His Coast Guard career and came to an abrupt halt in November when he was charged with rape.
During an interview with investigators, Bond, 33, sobbed. He admitted to touching a 31-year-old female Air Force staff sergeant's vagina and licking her thigh at a bar in 2010. But he denies the prosecution's charge that he raped her in a drunken rage, saying he had consensual sex with her at his sister's house.
"I'm appalled at the alleged behavior," U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Greenwich said. He introduced Bond, his former brother-in-law to the alleged victim, his co-worker at Shaw Air Force base, near Sumter, S.C.
Several witnesses, who were mostly from South Carolina where the alleged rape happened, came on the second day of the military trial at Coast Guard headquarters in Miami's Brickell area.
Also, the Coast Guard reported having difficulties during the investigation, because the Air Force has different procedures and databases. Coast Guard Investigative Services' Special Agent Walter Ortiz Jr., an investigator in the case, and Coast Guard Lt. Brendan Sullivan, a prosecutor in the case, also said witnesses did not return phone calls.
When Greenwich said he had met with the defense at a hotel lobby in Miami Monday, Sullivan said the prosecution should have been able to speak to him as well. Greenwich said that it was not up to him, but up to Air Force legal staff. Coast Guard investigators questioned Greenwich before Bond was charged.
Ortiz said that during an interview that lasted about six hours, Bond was sobbing. He was worried about his wife and about losing his orders to go to Maui, an island in Hawaii, Ortiz said. Jury selection in Bond's trial was Friday. And Monday, a seven-juror panel listened to the accuser's testimony. Bond did not show emotion.
Jurors continued to listen to memories of Halloween weekend 2010 Tuesday.
"We decided to go out. We dressed up, somebody knew the people at the bar," Air Force Sgt. Adam Moreno said. "We had some food and some drinks and hung out there."
Bond's sister Christin Greenwich and two of her friends said they remembered Bond's accuser was getting plenty of male attention at the bar. Crystal Floyd described her dancing as "a show" that was "sexy" and "risque." Gretchan Reynolds said she remembered her tight, black leather outfit. Bond's sister said that her pants ripped when she did a split.
"She had a lot of energy dancing around," Reynolds said."She danced with men and the wives watched. There was somebody who got a lap dance."
Two of the accuser's former friends also testified. A childhood friend, who claims to have kept in close contact until 2009, said she was not a truthful person. No one asked her about the incidents that made her arrive to that conclusion.
Angella Bryant said that after the Halloween weekend the accuser told her that she felt badly about "the situation" with Bond because he was married.
"She made me feel like he had come into the room and was in there and placed himself on top of her," Bryant said. "She didn't want to make any noise because she didn't want to wake a child. She made me feel like it was not consensual."
Bryant said she heard the accuser talk on the phone with Bond after the alleged rape. Sprint phone records corroborated the accuser and Bond talked at least three times after Oct. 30, 2010. Records show that she called Bond four days after the alleged rape. The call lasted 23 minutes.
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