AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – A physical therapist at the Air Force Academy (search) hospital who accused an airman of raping her last spring testified Monday that she was too drunk at the time to remember whether the sex was consensual.
The woman, also an airman, said during the Article 32 hearing (search) that she awoke with Senior Airman Levi Ackley in her bed after drinking with him and three other men the night of May 24 in Ackley's dorm room.
Ackley is charged with rape and forcible sodomy. He could face life in prison if convicted at a court-martial.
The case is the latest involving cadets or airmen accused of rape. In 2003, the academy was rocked by dozens of women who said their reports of sexual assault were either mishandled or ignored. Top leaders were replaced, and policies on conduct and alcohol have been overhauled.
An Article 32 hearing is roughly the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing. Investigating officer Maj. Vladimir Shifrin will recommend whether a court-martial should be held.
The prosecutor, Maj. Michael O'Sullivan, contended that Ackley took advantage of a drunken woman.
But defense attorney Capt. Gwendolyn Beitz suggested the woman accused Ackley of assault to avoid being punished for underage drinking. The woman wasn't old enough to drink legally at the time.