May 25, 1997 in City
Fairchild Sergeant Convicted Of 15 Charges Military Jury Begins Sentencing Portion Of Court-Martial
A Fairchild Air Force Base security officer was convicted Saturday of 15 criminal charges including rape, kidnapping and forcible sodomy.
A total of 17 charges in connection with the assaults of three women were filed against Master Sgt. Napolean Bailey. A military jury made up of eight men convicted the 39-year-old after three days of deliberation.
After the verdict was announced in the early afternoon, jurors began sentencing portion of the trial. They deliberated until Saturday evening and will resume their work this morning.
Prosecutors brought one of the rape victims back to the courtroom to appeal for a tough sentence. She spoke of the flashbacks and nightmares she has endured since the rape. She told the jury about her therapy sessions and how she will forever be traumatized by the experience.
“There’s this extreme fear,” the woman said, trying not to cry. “I’ve completely lost this sense of trust.”
Pleading for a lighter sentence, Bailey later stood in front of the jury with a prepared speech.
“I am ashamed to be before you under these circumstances,” he said, his voice both deep and steady. “This experience has been humiliating for me.”
He told the jury of his background - growing up poor in Columbia, Miss., his parents’ separation when he was 5, his mother’s death when he was a teenager.
He also spoke of his successes and his career with the Air Force, how he has “always taken pride” in his job.
Bailey became emotional when he talked about his daughter and his current girlfriend, “the woman with whom I’ve found happiness and love.”
Bailey, a 21-year Air Force veteran, was arrested in March after an investigation by Fairchild’s Office of Special Investigations that started after a Spokane Valley woman reported a Sept. 5 rape to police.
That woman, a single mother of two, went to Deaconess Medical Center at the urging of friends after telling them Bailey had raped and sodomized her at his South Hill apartment.
The Fairchild security police officer had been under investigation a year earlier, when a previous girl friend reported a sexual assault to his commanders. That woman, however, later recanted her story and Bailey’s commanding officer, Col. Dennis Hunsinger, said that stopped the investigation.
The woman, a Spokane legal secretary, testified that she changed her story because Bailey told her to do so, and she was afraid of him.
A third woman, an Air Force sergeant who lived with Bailey for nearly two years, testified during the court martial that he beat her.
The 17 charges spanned a period from 1992 until last fall. He was accused of raping and forcibly sodomizing the two Spokane women, and assaulting them and the Air Force sergeant. He also was charged with making threats against them, obstruction of justice for his activities during the two investigations and with kidnapping the legal secretary by ordering her into his truck and taking her to Riverside State Park when she wanted to go home.
Military prosecutors described Bailey as a sexual predator who lured women into relationships by acting like a gentleman when he met them. Once the relationship was established, however, they said he gradually would intimidate them, beat them and, finally, force them to have sex against their will.
His defense attorneys argued that the women were competent adults who chose to be in their relationships. The relationships sometimes were stormy, his attorneys argued, but the sex was consensual.
Prosecutors are asking for a penalty consisting of 25 years in prison, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade.
The panel of officers and enlisted personnel convicted Bailey of one count of rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of assault consummated by a battery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one county of making a false official statement and one count of kidnapping.
He also was convicted of two counts of communicating a threat, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of unlawful entry. He was found innocent of one rape, allegedly committed Dec. 4, and one count of communicating a threat.