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Accused Marine major denies having sex with mid, assaulting another

May. 29, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Marine officer accused of raping one female mid and having consensual sex with another is “the victim,” his defense counsel said Wednesday.

Maj. Mark Thompson, a former Annapolis instructor, never had sex with either midshipman nor fraternized with them, defense attorney Maj. Joseph Grimm said in his opening statement.

“He’s the victim of fabrication,” Grimm said.

But both women took the stand Wednesday, describing a long day of drinking on April 30, 2011, that allegedly ended with strip poker, sex and assault.

It was the day of the annual croquet game between the Naval Academy and St. John’s, an event that’s a “drinkfest for all the midshipmen,” according to Ensign Sarah Stadler, who testified she had repeated and consensual sexual encounters with Thompson.

The alleged sexual assault victim, now a Marine second lieutenant., also testified at the court-martial, which began Tuesday at the Washington Navy Yard.

She, too, described a day of heavy drinking, one that created lapses in her memory.

“I’m not really sure if I struggled. I don’t think I did because I was so shocked and confused, like some out-of-body experience,” the alleged assault victim said on Wednesday.

Navy Times does not identify alleged victims of rape or sexual assault without their consent.

Grimm said the two mids did visit Thompson’s home, but only to use the bathroom and then they left 10 minutes later. The Marine allegedly spent the night with his girlfriend at the time, who is expected to testify.

Stadler alleges that she had a consensual sexual relationship with Thompson, during her senior year at the Naval Academy. The two began PTing together and then started to have sex at his home on the weekend and during the week, according to her testimony.

“Instead of going for a run, we were doing a different physical activity,” she told the court — one of several instances during her testimony in which she made light of her relationship with the instructor.

Stadler also alleged that she had a threesome with Thompson and another male active-duty service member.

To challenge Stadler’s credibility with the jury, the defense asked about her recent captain’s mast aboard the destroyer Howard, where she is stationed. Stadler was taken to mast for lying about the details of her relationship with a junior sailor.

“I had told the truth before and it wasn’t panning out so well for me,” she said, referring to a backlash after her comments made during Thompson’s Article 32 hearing.

It’s unclear exactly what her relationship was with the sailor. Stadler has been stationed board the San Diego destroyer since graduating in May 2011.

Stadler alleges she had sex a final time with Thompson on May 27, 2011, the night of her graduation.

“He kind of christened me as an ensign,” she told the jury.

Thompson faces one count of aggravated sexual assault and indecent acts; three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer; and other counts. He could be sentenced to 30 years in prison if convicted of the sexual assault charge.

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