Three U.S. servicemen accused of raping a 12-year-old girl turned on one another in testimony Tuesday, with two saying they feared the third and followed his orders to join the attack.
The two Marines, Pfc. Rodrico Harp, 21, of Griffin, Ga., and Pfc. Kendrick Ledet, 20, of Waycross, Ga., made emotional apologies and pledges of compensation but also tried to shift much of the blame.
They depicted Navy Seaman Marcus Gill, 22, of Woodville, Texas, as a violent, threatening bully who had intimidated them into grabbing the girl off the street and shoving her into their car. They deny raping her.
But Gill, who has admitted raping the girl in the Sept. 4 attack, rejected that account. “The other two left out the parts that made them look bad,” Gill said.
His testimony continues today.
The crime has outraged the Japanese and has added urgency to the sensitive question of whether most of the 47,000 U.S. soldiers based in Japan should continue to be located on this small tropical island.
Harp and Ledet have admitted participating in the assault. Harp has said he approached the girl and struck her, while Ledet says he grabbed her from behind and forced her into the car Gill was driving.
The two Marines say Harp bound her and Ledet gagged her with duct tape while Gill drove to a remote field. Gill then raped her, and they dumped her from the car and left, the Marines say.
On Tuesday, Harp and Ledet said Gill had been talking about rape for much of the day of the attack. Ledet said he even had received a death threat from Gill several weeks before.
Ledet said Gill directed the abduction from the driver’s seat.
“He said, ‘Get the damn girl - get the girl in the car,”’ Ledet testified. “‘Get the girl in the car!”’
“Gill said to tape the girl’s hands up, and I said ‘no,’ and he said, ‘Tape the girl’s hands up!”’ Harp testified, his voice rising sharply.
Ledet said that on Gill’s orders, he got in the back seat and “attempted to rape her” but then changed his mind. “I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do that,” he said, breaking down into sobs.
Harp said he got into the back seat next but said he also couldn’t rape the girl, who was unconscious.