The court-martial trial of an Air Force technical sergeant facing a charge of aggravated sexual assault and causing bodily harm resumed Wednesday morning at Scott Air Force Base, with the focal point the testimony of the female accuser.
Tech Sgt. Isaac O. Concey, a member of the 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, is accused of inappropriately touching an enlisted female airman’s genitals without her consent while she slept in Germany in early May 2011.
The accuser was called to the witness stand Wednesday morning, testifying about events that led up to the night sometime in mid- to late May 2011, when Concey allegedly assaulted her.
The woman acknowledged drinking heavily that night at a nearby bar, and falling asleep on the couch at a friend’s apartment. The woman said she awoke in a bed, naked from the waist down.
“When I opened my eyes, I saw Sgt. Concey with his fingers inside me,” she said. “I didn’t have any shorts on or underwear.”
Defense attorney Matthew Radefeld used his opportunity to cross-examine the woman to impeach her credibility. He tried to do so by underscoring gaps in her memory and discrepancies in her testimony compared to the accounts she gave the Air Force Office of Special Investigation during an interview she provided nearly a year ago, when she filed the charges against Concey.
Radefeld got the woman to admit that on the night of the alleged assault, she had consumed a large amount of alcohol in the form of whiskey and Coke cocktails, and later cocktails consisting of Red Bull energy drink and vodka at a night club called Count Down. The woman and a female companion got lost walking from Count Down to the apartment of a sergeant they worked with and who lived nearby. Because of her heavy alcohol intake, the woman admitted vomiting twice — once at the nightclub and then in the bathroom of the sergeant’s apartment.
A key part of Radefeld’s interrogation centered on the events immediately before and after the alleged assault in the sergeant’s apartment.
The woman testified she remembered waking up to find Concey having inserted his fingers into her vagina, with her legs spread apart. But the woman could not remember how Concey had entered the apartment, since she had no knowledge whether her female companion or the sergeant had buzzed him from the ground floor or unlocked the apartment door.
“Is it your testimony that you may have let Sgt. Concey into the apartment?” Radefeld said.
“I don’t remember,” the woman said, her faced flushed, her eyes watering with tears.
Radefeld pointed out that during a two-hour interview with OSI investigators nearly a year ago, the woman made no mention of the possibility she could have allowed her alleged attacker into the apartment.
“I never said I let Sgt. Concey in,” she said tearfully. “But when I was asked I said I didn’t remember.”
Radefeld zeroed in, his tone growing sharper.
“You have no idea how Sgt. Concey got into that apartment?” he said.
“No, sir, I do not.”
In later testimony, the woman admitted that she could not recall what Concey was wearing during the alleged assault, whether the room it occurred in was lighted or not, what time it occurred or whether Concey was standing at the foot of the bed or seated next to her.
“I remember the light being on,” she said.
“But in your interview with OSI, you never told them the lights were on, did you?”
“No, sir, I did not,” she said.
At this point the woman was crying openly and she had covered her face with a Kleenex. Schools, the trial judge, called for a recess and waited until the woman exited the room.
Schools turned sharply to Radefeld, glared at him for a moment, and then began admonishing him.
“I expect you need to watch your tone with the witness,” she said. “Watch the confrontational tone with the witness.”
Radefeld nodded meekly. “Yes, your honor.”
Schools empaneled a jury Tuesday consisting of seven officers — four women and three men, occupying every rank from first lieutenant to full colonel. If convicted, Concey faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years confinement in a military prison.
Military prosecutors won a victory in the case Tuesday morning when Schools ruled prosecutors could submit as evidence into the trial a series of unwanted advances Concey allegedly made toward the woman in 2010. Prosecutors say the evidence would help show a pattern of escalating misconduct by Concey.
Concey’s alleged physical advances occurred between January and August 2010, at nightclubs near Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, where both Concey and the woman were stationed at the time, and where Concey served as the woman’s supervisor.
The unwanted advances, according to prosecutors, include kissing, touching and sexually-charged comments that occurred while the two were stationed at Spangdahlem.
The woman was a junior airman under Concey’s direct supervision in 2010 and 2011.