Accused Coast Guard Cadet Takes Stand in Court-Martial

A Coast Guard Academy cadet testified at his court-martial Monday that he had consensual sex with his on-again, off-again girlfriend on the night she says he raped her.

"I knew that she had been drinking but I didn't really think she was that drunk or anything," Cadet Webster Smith told the military jury.

The case against the 23-year-old Houston man is the first court-martial of a student in the academy's 130-year history. Smith has pleaded not guilty to rape, sodomy, extortion and assault charges that stem from allegations made by the sometimes-girlfriend and three other female cadets.

The woman who accused Smith of rape said she remembers nearly nothing about that night last June when she alleges Smith raped her. She says she drank as much as three liters of wine and passed out, then woke up the next morning and was told they'd had sex.

Smith testified Monday that the sex that night was consensual.

The prosecution maintains that the woman could not have consented to sex that night. Defense attorneys say Smith and the woman continued their sporadic relationship for months and had sex after that night.

Prosecutors say Smith preyed on young women, manipulating them into sexual situations when they were drunk and vulnerable. With no physical evidence in the case, defense attorneys hope to persuade jurors that the testimony against Smith is unreliable.

Another woman has said that Smith performed oral sex on her in the back of his car while she was drunk and pleading with him to stop. Defense attorneys note that the woman did not mention this in an affidavit for Coast Guard investigators, and that her story has changed.

A third woman said she never resisted when she and Smith took naked photographs together, gave each other massages and had oral sex. The woman said she was relying on Smith to keep a secret, one involving a crime that could have jeopardized her career in the Coast Guard. Prosecutors say Smith held that secret over her, extorting her for sexual favors.

The fourth woman said that Smith, a good friend, pinned her to a wall and kissed her at an off-campus party last spring. She said she didn't want to kiss him, but they'd kissed before and she said she never indicated she didn't want to be kissed.