Sailors charged in Thanksgiving night gang rape
Dec. 10, 1996
GROTON, Conn. (AP) _ Three sailors stationed at a submarine base are accused of plying a 16-year-old girl with liquor and sexually assaulting her on Thanksgiving night at a motel run by the Navy.
Lionel A. Benjamin, 19, and Raymond Johnson, 17, were arrested Monday on charges they raped the girl after a night of dancing and drinking. A third sailor, Luis C. Jones, 20, was charged with a lesser count of sexual assault and attempted sexual assault.
They were jailed on $100,000 bail each and could get up to 20 years in prison.
A fourth sailor, Greg Watkins, told police he was in the room but did not take part in the attack. He backed up most of the girl's story, according to court papers. Watkins has not been charged.
The girl, a 10th-grade student, told police she met the sailors at the restaurant where she works as a waitress. The sailors, whose hometowns were not released, are newly enlisted at the Naval Submarine School in Groton.
The girl told police she met the sailors at the restaurant and was attacked after going back with them to the Navy lodge to party, get drunk and smoke marijuana. The lodge, a motel for Navy personnel and their families, is a few blocks from the base.
According to court papers, the sailors dropped the girl off at home the next morning, and she told them they ``weren't going to get away with it.'' They replied they didn't care because they were being transferred the following Monday, she said.
A friend took the girl to a hospital. She had bruises on her breasts, arms and thigh.
Watkins complained to the other sailors about what they were doing, comforted the girl and apologized to her after the attack, and protected her from further attacks as she slept on the motel room floor, she told police.
The three sailors denied assaulting her. Benjamin denied ever being at the lodge.
About 1,400 students are enrolled at the sub school. All Navy personnel undergo sensitivity training that includes issues such as sexual harassment.
``From boot camp on, our sailors are trained in the Navy's core values, which are honor, courage and commitment,'' said Lt. John Wallach, a base spokesman.