Is he a rapist or a pawn in a military game to discredit the Air Force Academy sex scandal? For the first time, Douglas Meester answers the charges.
Afterward, Meester went to the bathroom and returned to find Woods sitting on the floor, putting on her clothes. She dressed herself and tied her shoes. Rando then entered the room again and, as he told OSI, "half-walked-half-carried" Woods back to her room at about 3 a.m. She would later ask her roommate if Cuny, her boyfriend, had come to their room at 1 a.m. as planned.
That afternoon, at 2:23 p.m., Woods sent Cuny an e-mail in which she tried to explain a bit about her night. She wrote that she got drunk and that Meester had "mess[ed] with me and shit.... I'm sure [Meester] wasn't thinking at all either, so I can't tell you he attacked me or anything. I just feel disgusting and horrible and I want to die right now. And I'm sure you probably want to kill me.... I am so stupid and made a huge mistake last night and I don't know how to fix it..."
In addition to rape, Meester is charged with forcible sodomy, committing indecent acts, and conduct unbecoming an officer. A panel of 11 Air Force officers - 10 male and one female - has already been selected to sit in judgment of him. They will decide, in effect, whether on that night two stressed-out college kids got drunk and had a one-night stand, or whether it was something criminal.
Many of the academy's other alleged sexual-assault victims, at least the ones who have recounted their stories in the press, said their rapists either used physical force or abused rank to commit the assault. One of the women who spoke to 7 News' Ferrugia said an upperclassmen ordered her to fellate him; another said her assailant threatened to make her life at the academy a living hell if she reported that he had raped her. Woods, however, did not claim Meester physically forced or ordered her to do anything. The thrust of her allegation is that Meester took advantage of her while she was "beyond impaired" - in other words, too drunk to resist. As Woods wrote in a memo to Brig. Gen. Weida, "Never did I give Cadet Meester, someone I barely knew, permission to touch me or have sex with me."
According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the panel that will judge Meester must find that he raped Woods if it is proven that Woods was "incapable due to the lack of mental or physical faculties of giving consent." If, on the other hand, the panel determines that Woods was "in possession of her mental and physical faculties and failed to make her lack of consent reasonably manifest by taking such measures of resistance as are called for by the circumstances," Meester must be found innocent. Put another way, if the panel determines that Woods was sober enough to know what was going on and did not resist either in word or deed, "then the inference may be drawn that she consented."