A former Navy commander accused of trying to rape a female colleague at her home in San Diego testified Wednesday that she told him “no means keep going” when they were flirting and making out in the back of an SUV on the way to her residence.
John Michael Neuhart II, 40, testified that he was initially confused by the woman’s comment but clarified what she meant by discussing the matter further.
“I wanted to continue what we were doing,” Neuhart told Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Tag.
Neuhart said he and the alleged victim also talked about “stop” not meaning stop.
“I believe it was all consensual between us,” the former helicopter squadron commander testified.
Neuhart is charged with attempted forcible rape, assault with intent to rape and other charges stemming from the Sept. 12, 2016, encounter with the woman, who worked as a helicopter pilot in Neuhart’s squadron in Guam.
The alleged victim and the defendant were in San Diego for separate training sessions last year, Tag said.
After having drinks at a downtown hotel, Neuhart and the woman ended up at her home, where he forced himself on her, the prosecutor alleged.
In a cell phone video recorded by the defendant, the woman can be heard telling Neuhart to “stop” as he tries to get her to open the door about 3 a.m.
“I’ve wanted you for a while,” Neuhart tells her. When she tells him “no” and to stop, Neuhart says, “Is that your safe word? Is no your safe word?”
The woman is heard telling Neuhart that he is going to get attacked by her pit bull if he doesn’t leave.
“Stop. It’s not what I want!” the woman tells the defendant. “Please stop! Is this what you want, a girl who doesn’t want you?”
She testified that she told the defendant, “You’re (expletive) done!” during the encounter, referring to his military career.
Neuhart took off running after a neighbor called 911. The defendant was arrested by police a short distance away and suffered a broken leg.
Defense attorney Brian White told the jury that the encounter was between two consenting adults who had too much to drink and engaged in “aggressive and bizarre” foreplay.
The attorney said Neuhart didn’t have the intent to have sex with the alleged victim against her will.
White told the jury that the alleged victim was in a “blackout state” — which can cause a person to act irrationally — after a night of drinking.
White said Neuhart set up his cell phone outside her door so he would have evidence in case she claimed rape.
Neuhart, a married Iraq War veteran, was relieved as commander of the helicopter squadron after his arrest. He is still in the Navy, his attorney said.
–City News Service
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