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Sergeant convicted of rape suffers from disorder, psychiatrist says

May 6, 1997

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (AP) _ A drill sergeant facing life in prison for raping six female trainees suffers from a personality disorder that leads him to believe he’s ``entitled to certain things in life,″ an Army psychiatrist testified Monday.

Staff Sgt. Delmar Simpson was convicted last week of 18 counts of rape involving six trainees and 29 other offenses, mostly sexual misconduct.

At a sentencing hearing Monday, Col. Raymond Lande said he examined Simpson in March and determined he suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder.

People with such disorders place ``a great deal of importance on themselves at the expense of other individuals,″ and ``tend to feel they are entitled to certain things in life in terms of interpersonal relationships,″ Lande said.

If Simpson is taken out of the environment in which the rapes occurred, ``it is less likely that his behavior will reoccur,″ Lande testified.

Closing arguments in the sentencing hearing were scheduled for Tuesday morning, with deliberations to follow.

The allegations against Simpson led to charges against 12 staff members _ all black _ at Aberdeen Proving Ground, 30 miles northeast of Baltimore, and prompted investigations into sexual misconduct at U.S. military bases worldwide.

Earlier Monday, a lawyer for another drill sergeant charged with rape accused the Army of targeting black men for prosecution.

The attorney for Staff Sgt. Vernell Robinson Jr. asked the judge at a pretrial hearing to dismiss five counts of consensual sexual intercourse with trainees because the women, four white and one Hispanic, weren’t also charged with violating the Army ban on such relationships.

``The command made a decision not to charge the students and is only going after African-American males,″ the defense lawyer, Capt. Art Coulter, told the judge, Col. Paul Johnston.

Prosecutor Capt. Scott Lawson called the motion absurd, saying Robinson, a 12-year enlisted man, was charged because of his position, experience and authority over the trainees. Johnston said he would rule on it later.

Simpson did not specifically raise the racial angle in his defense.

But leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Congressional Black Caucus have demanded an independent investigation to determine if the Aberdeen inquiry was racially biased. The Army denies it.

Robinson, 31, faces 19 counts, including one of rape, one of sodomy, one of extortion and eight counts of violating the order against having personal relationships with trainees. The Mississippi man’s trial is set for May 27.

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