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Airman says MTI assaulted her on Christmas Eve

Jul. 25, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Tech. Sgt. Gayden is on trial this week on allegations that he raped a recruit at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
Tech. Sgt. Gayden is on trial this week on allegations that he raped a recruit at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. (File)
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Testimony began Thursday in the rape trial of a former standout military training instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The alleged victim in the case took the stand for about 3-1/2 hours Thursday following opening arguments the day before. Tech. Sgt. Marc Gayden is charged with rape, forcible sodomy and trying to develop a relationship with the woman, identified as Airman 1, while he was her basic training instructor in late 2010 and early 2011.

The woman testified about three alleged incidents with Gayden, said 2nd Lt. Samantha Degnan, a base spokeswoman. Airman 1 said he tried to hug and kiss her on one occasion; in another incident, he slapped her on the buttocks, she testified.

She said she was injured and on crutches on Christmas Eve 2010 when she went to Gayden’s office, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The rest of the flight was at physical training. Prosecutors allege that as they talked, Gayden forced his hand down her pants, digitally penetrated her and briefly forced her to perform oral sex.

The woman testified she limped back to her bed and cried afterward; moments later, he entered the room and told her no one would believe her, the newspaper reported.

Gayden is an 11-year Air Force veteran. He was at one point part of an elite group of MTIs known as master military trainers or “blue ropes,” usually reserved for the top 10 percent of instructors. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A jury of officers and noncommissioned officers will decide his fate. If found guilty of the rape charge, Gayden faces up to a life sentence.

The trial is scheduled to last at least through tomorrow.

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