Two days after Coast Guard Petty Officer Sheldon Bond allegedly raped a female Air Force staff sergeant, the two talked on the phone for nearly 30 minutes, according to Sprint records.
Three days later — Nov. 3, 2010 — she called him and the conversation lasted 23 minutes.
The woman said she was trying to befriend Bond, hoping he’d say something incriminating. During their conversations that week, she said, they chatted about military training.
“I was just letting him talk,” she said Tuesday.
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The former staff sergeant says Bond touched her inappropriately at a crowded bar as they were partying with friends. After returning to the house where the group was staying, she alleges he came into the room she was sleeping in and raped her.
While Bond admits the pair had sexual intercourse, he told investigators it was consensual.
He has been charged with wrongful sexual contact, sexual assault and adultery (he was married, and it’s a crime in the military to have sex with someone other than your spouse).
If convicted, Bond faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and dishonorable discharge. A court martial is being held at the Coast Guard’s 7th District Headquarters in downtown Miami.
Witnesses from all over the country flew in for the second day of the court martial, with many coming from South Carolina, where the alleged crime occurred. Some attested to Bond’s character and respectful behavior toward women but told prosecutors during cross-examination they didn’t know he has admitted to having sexual intercourse with the alleged victim.
On Tuesday, a woman who has known the alleged victim since childhood and once considered her a best friend, testified as a defense witness via telephone.
The woman told the court that the alleged victim isn’t a truthful person. The prosecution declined to cross-examine the accuser’s former friend — a decision that elicited surprised looks from around the courtroom.
Bond’s sister and her former husband, owners of the residence where the alleged rape took place, said neither of them heard anything that night. Bond’s accuser said Monday she was afraid to scream out because she didn’t want to wake up the children in the house.
Near the end of Tuesday’s proceedings, the prosecution questioned Dr. Lester Huff, a psychiatrist testifying for the defense who said he believes the alleged victim shows traits of narcissistic personality disorder, a mental health condition characterized by a lack of empathy, an excess need for admiration and preoccupation with self.
Prosecutors argued that his testimony shouldn’t be heard because he has not examined the alleged victim in person — instead, he has looked at her journal, written statements and medical records. Huff said he asked to examine the woman but the prosecution would not allow it.
The court martial is expected to continue through Thursday.