Rape Charge Against Air Force Cadet Dropped

Prosecutors dropped a felony rape charge against an Air Force Academy cadet who had been accused of assaulting a 17-year-old high school student at a party.

Deputy District Attorney Diana May filed a motion Wednesday to dismiss the first-degree sexual assault charge against Nicholas O. Martin, 21, saying the alleged victim refused to testify. The motion said the girl's reasons for doing so were personal.

"While the prosecution can sometimes proceed without the cooperation of the victim, the prosecution cannot do so in this case," the motion said. It cited a lack of independent witnesses and forensic evidence.

The girl had told police that Martin, a sophomore, allegedly got her drunk and raped her at a party Sept. 10 in Fountain.

Martin's lawyer, Patrick Mika, said the sex was consensual and the girl was of legal age to give consent. He denied that Martin gave the girl alcohol.

Martin still could face military charges or administrative punishment.

"While we're relieved this is over, the legal proceedings, the reality is it's never over," Mika said. "This young man's reputation has been soiled and damaged by this allegation. He'll live with that for the remainder of his life."

Sexual assault allegations within the Air Force Academy drew national attention in 2004, when nearly 150 women came forward with accusations that they had been sexually assaulted by fellow cadets between 1993 and 2003. Many alleged they were ignored or ostracized when they reported the attacks or spoke out.